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Old 06-22-2007, 11:28 AM   #1
Urthman
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Virginia's 'civil remedial fees'...

What a great place to live, I love Virginia! Virginia Introduces New traffic 'civil remedial fees' & added a new mandatory tax assessment {up to $3000} on all moving violations & an annual $175 per point until the points are gone from your record, 1 speeding ticket = 6points x $175 = $1050\year until the points are gone from your record.
Judges have no power to lower the fee, if your convicted you pay what the state has determined to be the fair fee for being a dangerous driver.

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Virginia Introduces $3550 Speeding Ticket
Virginia legislator introduces new speeding ticket tax that boosts penalties beyond $3550, driving business to his traffic law firm.



Virginia motorists convicted of minor traffic violations will face a new, multi-year tax beginning July 1. Led by state Delegate David B. Albo (R-Springfield), lawmakers slipped a driver responsibility tax into a larger transportation funding bill signed by Governor Tim Kaine (D) in April. Albo, a senior partner in the Albo & Oblon, LLP traffic law firm, can expect to see a significant increase in business as motorists seek to protect their wallet from traffic tickets that come with assessments of up to $3000 in addition to an annual point tax that tops out at $700 a year for as long as the points remain.

"The purpose of the civil remedial fees imposed in this section is to generate revenue," the new law states. (Virginia Code 46.2-206.1)

Driving as little as 15 MPH over the limit on an interstate highway now brings six license demerit points, a fine of up to $2500, up to one year in jail, and a new mandatory $1050 tax. The law also imposes an additional annual fee of up to $100 if a prior conviction leaves the motorist with a balance of eight demerit points, plus $75 for each additional point (up to $700 a year). The conviction in this example remains on the record for five years.

Other six-point convictions include "failing to give a proper signal," "passing a school bus" or "driving with an obstructed view." The same $1050 assessment applies, but the conviction remains on the record for eleven years.

Although the amount of the tax can add up quickly, the law forbids judges from reducing or suspending it in any way. The tax applies only to Virginia residents, so that out-of-state motorists only need to pay the regular ticket amount. Michigan, New Jersey, New York and Texas also impose a somewhat more modest driver responsibility tax which they apply to out-of-state residents.

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New traffic ‘civil remedial fees’ will wallop the wallets of traffic offenders

Cathy Benson

“The General Assembly dubbed the law the 'Dangerous Driver Law,' but it is much more far reaching than that,” said Tommy Moore, clerk of the Botetourt Circuit Court.

It will keep the clerk's office busy collecting the first of three annual civil fee payments from drivers convicted of any number of traffic violations. The civil fees will be on top of traffic fines courts impose, and are part of the new financial package to help fund Virginia's beleaguered highway department.

For instance, an offender charged and convicted of reckless driving for going 20 mph over the speed limit would pay the traffic fines and court costs, plus be accessed a $1,000 civil fee. One-third of the civil fee would have to be paid the day of the conviction. The rest would be paid in two equal installments over the next two years. The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is responsible for collecting the final two payments

The new system is designed to spread the fees into three yearly payments.
The fees could reach into the hundreds or thousands of dollars for some traffic offenders.
The idea, according to published a report, is “Drive Safe and Save Money.”
“We felt it would be a good thing to do for public safety and a unique way to raise more funding,” said Del. Steve Landes, (R-Weyers Cave,) who co-sponsored the legislation this past winter.

The civil fees will go into a newly created special transportation fund to pay for road construction.

Local elected officials didn't want to go on the record commenting on this way of raising funds for transportation in the state, but privately several said it was a way of keeping the Republican-controlled General Assembly from having to implement a new tax or raise taxes for the troubled transportation system. Gov. Tim Kaine, a Democrat, signed the bill into law.

Instead of direct taxes to fund transportation, some are calling the civil penalties “hidden fees.” They range from $250 to $3,000, depending on the traffic violation, and will be assessed on a variety of misdemeanor traffic violations including being a passenger in a hit and run or the failure to give a proper signal.

Moore provided a print out of violations that he received at the circuit court clerks conference on June 4 and 5. The print out filled five pages.

Many of the civil fees do address alcohol as was the intent of the “Dangerous Driver Law” when it originated, but the fees also may be accessed for such daily traffic violations as rolling through a stop sign (a fee of $300), or impeding traffic--a charge that's possible when stopping in front of your mailbox to get the mail. The civil fee alone for a conviction on the latter is $300.

Play an R or X rated movie on the van DVD player and if it is seen by someone in another vehicle, a driver can be charged and fined with having an obscene video image seen from outside the car. The civil fee is $300.
The new law takes effect July 1.

Botetourt County Commonwealth's Attorney Joel Branscom feels this will be hitting some folks who can least afford the extra fees.

If a convicted traffic offender does not pay the fees for whatever reason, the person's driver's license is revoked.

The fees will be hitting many of those who can least afford to lose a driver's permit, and the fallout could keep people from being able to work or pay child support, and that is already a part of the downward spiral many traffic offenders are already facing, said both Branscom and Moore, who see dire effects with the new set of civil fees.

“Judges have no leeway with the new law,” said Branscom. which means they cannot reduce or suspend the civil fees.

According to Moore, after the court collects the first civil fee installment, the DMV collects the next two yearly installments and will use a collection agency to retrieve those final two payments. That adds a layer of cost in collection that will reduce the benefit to road funding.

Those who have driving points on their record also will be assessed an additional $175 per point in civil fees for their previous record up to $700 if convicted of a new violation.

Drivers from out of state will not be penalized by the civil system of fees because “the state can not go beyond its borders to collect the (civil) fees,” said Moore. “These fees are for Virginia residents and those with a permit listing a Virginia address.”

July 1 looms in two weeks and the clerk's offices around the state are doing what they can to prepare for the collection of the first round of civil fees, which will bring a whole new aspect to traffic court in Virginia.
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Old 06-22-2007, 03:11 PM   #2
MerF
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Haha! My company sent an e-mail out on this, too...I like the initiative on most of it (women drivers are screwed...sorry to the ladies here who CAN drive, but you must admit the majority have a tough time). Some of it is borderline rediculous though.
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Old 06-23-2007, 12:02 AM   #3
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Ridiculous, slipped it in a bill at the last moment befor it passes, what a joke. That’s our government putting the screws to us … I’m sorry but to my knowledge Michigan has nothing like this…
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Old 06-24-2007, 12:38 AM   #4
AFSNightrod
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I'm moving.
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Old 06-24-2007, 01:16 AM   #5
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Okay I just read into this a little bit more. Basically the fees apply to the more serious traffic offenses. So if you drive like a total idiot, you will pay the price. The pain is that they hand out reckless driving for just about anything. Just gotta be a little bit more careful thats all. I'm still moving though.

Last edited by AFSNightrod; 06-24-2007 at 01:33 AM.
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