Virginia Exile Program

Suffolk Exile Program Billboard
Launched in 2001, the Suffolk Exile Program has been an invaluable tool in taking illegal guns off our city's streets. This program was designed to break the link between guns and drugs, guns and felons, guns in schools, and between guns and crime in general. When the same program has the backing of both Handgun Control, Inc. and the National Rifle Association (NRA), it's got to be doing something right!

Just like our slogan states, "It's Simple...You Do the Math!" Under Exile legislation, anyone faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 5 years in a Virginia prison who:
  • Has a prior conviction for a violent felony such as murder, rape, robbery, felonious assault or certain types of burglary and is convicted of possessing a firearm; or
  • Is convicted of possessing a firearm within school property with the intent to use it, or displaying the weapon in a threatening manner; or
  • Is convicted of possessing a firearm and an illegal drug, such as cocaine or heroin, with the intent to distribute.

Other Exile Program Facts


  • Anyone who is convicted of possessing a firearm and an illegal drug such as cocaine or heroin faces a mandatory minimum 2 to 5 years in a Virginia prison.
  • Additionally, anyone who possesses a firearm and has a prior conviction for a non-violent felony such as larceny or drug possession will be exiled for 2 years in addition to any other sentence imposed.
  • The new law presumes that people charged with Exile-type gun crimes will not be eligible for bail while awaiting trial.
  • And, because Virginia abolished parole over five years ago, people convicted of these gun crimes will be behind bars "exiled" for the full two to five years. This is in addition to any other sentence imposed.

Virginia 2000 Statewide Statistics


Virginia 2000 statewide statistics show that over 88% of all murders and over 51% of all robberies were committed with a firearm. Particularly startling is the fact that a teenager is more likely to die from a gunshot than from all natural causes of death combined. This is unacceptable, and for our children's sake, we must reclaim our neighborhoods and streets.

Virginia Exile - A Success Story


Virginia Exile's success has attracted wide attention from other states, major cities, and in Congress, which approved a National Exile Law based on Virginia's model.

Virginia Exile also helps communities create public awareness campaigns to put violent criminals on notice and enlist community support. If your business would like to partner with our office in getting this important information out to our community, please contact our office.
  1. 1
  2. 2

Getting the Exile Message Out


Suffolk's Exile Program has been praised throughout the state and has been a model for other jurisdictions due to our innovation in getting the message out on the street.

Criminals must know about the program for it to work, and the community must be aware of it, too. This program truly gives people a voice against crime and loudly sends the message that the illegal possession of guns and gun violence will not be tolerated in Suffolk!