West Virginia Code Chapter 61. Crimes and Their Punishment § 61-3-48. Offenses involving damage to shrubbery, flowers, trees and timber;  limitation of section;  penalties




(a) It is unlawful to break, cut, take or carry away, or in any manner to damage any of the shrubbery or flowers, including everything under the title of flora, whether wild or cultivated, growing within one hundred yards on either side of any public road in this state, without the permission in writing of the owner or tenant of the land upon which the shrubbery or flowers, including everything under the title of flora, are growing.

(b) It is unlawful for any person to enter upon the lands or premises of another without written permission of the owner of the lands or premises, in order to break, cut, take or carry away or in any manner to damage or cause to be broken, cut, taken or carried away or in any manner damaged, any trees or timber on the land.

(c) It is unlawful for any person willfully or knowingly to have in his possession, or to haul along any public road in this state, any trees, shrubbery or flowers, including everything under the title of flora, which are protected by this section, unless the person so having in his possession or hauling the trees, shrubbery or flowers, and any other plant, has permission in writing so to do from the owner or tenant of the land from which they have been taken.

(d) At the request of a law-enforcement officer, a person engaged in any act which would constitute an offense under the provisions of subsection (a), (b) or (c) of this section if such act were done without the required permission specified therein, shall display the written permission to such officer.

(e) Notwithstanding the provisions of this section or section forty-eight-a of this article:

(1) An employee of the department of highways or of a county or municipality performing roadside maintenance shall obtain the permission of an owner before engaging in any act specified in subsection (a), (b) or (c) of this section but is not required to obtain the permission in writing or to display the written permission as provided in subsection (d) of this section;  and

(2) If an employee, agent or contractor of a public utility as defined in section two, article one, chapter twenty-four of this code, has obtained the written permission of an owner pursuant to a contract with said owner or his predecessor in title or by other operation of law, the employee, agent or contractor of said public utility shall, prior to engaging in any act specified in subsection (a), (b) or (c) of this section, provide reasonable notice to the owner under rules and regulations which the public service commission shall promulgate:  Provided, That such rules and regulations shall not require prior notice in a case of sudden emergency endangering persons or property of either the landowner, the occupant of the land, the public utility or the general public:  Provided, however, That such rules and regulations shall require reasonable notice to the landowner that such acts have been performed without prior notice by reason of such emergency.

(f) Any person who violates the provisions of subsection (a) or (c) of this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and, upon conviction thereof, for the first offense shall be fined not more than fifty dollars, and for subsequent offenses shall be confined in the county jail for not more than three months, or fined not more than fifty dollars, or both, for each offense.

(g) Any person who violates the provisions of subsection (b) of this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and, upon conviction thereof, for the first offense shall be fined not less than fifty dollars, and for subsequent offenses shall be confined in the county jail for not less than three months, or fined not less than fifty dollars, or both, for each offense.

(h) Magistrates shall have concurrent jurisdiction with circuit courts for offenses under this section.





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