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  1. #1
    MembersZone Subscriber MalahatTwo7's Avatar
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    Default Hey Virginia Residents

    I read this in Saturday's Washington Post, as I am sure a lot of you "Locals" did too:

    Hefty Fees In Store for Misbehaving Va. Drivers

    By Tom Jackman. Washington Post Staff Writer Saturday, June 23, 2007;

    Attention Virginians: The cost of bad driving is about to go up. Way up.

    Say you are driving 78 mph on the Capital Beltway and a state trooper tickets you for "reckless driving -- speeding 20 mph over." You will probably be fined $200 by the judge. But then you will receive a new, additional $1,050 fine from the Old Dominion, payable in three convenient installments. So convenient that you must pay the first one immediately, at the courthouse.

    First-time drunk driver? A $300 fine from the judge and a $2,250 fee from the commonwealth.

    Driving without a license? Maybe a $75 fine. Definitely a $900 fee from Virginia.

    As part of the plan to fund the annual $1 billion transportation package approved this year, state legislators endorsed a new set of "civil remedial fees" for all misdemeanor and felony traffic violations, such as speeding 20 mph above the limit, reckless driving and, in some cases, driving with faulty brakes. Drivers with points on their licenses -- a speeding ticket usually earns four points -- will be hit for $75 for every point above eight and $100 for having that many points in the first place.

    The new fees will go into effect July 1, and defense attorneys, prosecutors and judges expect chaos. Court clerks fear having to deal with angry hordes learning about the fees for the first time at the payment window.

    "I think that we will be overwhelmed," said Nancy L. Lake, clerk of the Fairfax County General District Court, which includes the busiest traffic court in the state. "We feel we're going to take a lot of flack."

    The fees will be imposed only on Virginia residents. All defendants must pay the fines, but the "abuser fees," as Del. David B. Albo (R-Fairfax) calls them, are part of the state licensing fees and cannot be imposed on out-of-state drivers.

    Standard traffic infractions, such as low-level speeding and running a stop sign, do not carry the fees. The state courts posted the fees and eligible offenses this month.

    Albo and Del. Thomas D. Rust (R-Fairfax), who co-sponsored the fee legislation, project that $65 million to $120 million will be raised annually to cover costs of snow removal, pothole repair and grass-mowing. Money for Northern Virginia's congested roads had to come from somewhere, they reasoned, and new taxes were not going to fly in the GOP-controlled House of Delegates.

    The people who will be caught up in the new fees say the first wave of chaos will hit in early August, when the first tickets issued under the new law arrive in courthouses.

    Traffic court judges fear they will see a huge increase in trials, with defendants unwilling to plead guilty because they know they will face additional fees.

    Prosecutors say that in addition to possibly handling more trials, judges might suspend fines they usually impose, knowing that a heavier civil fee awaits. The money from fines will go to county governments, which could then face a decline in revenue. Funds from the new fees will go to the state.

    Defense attorneys say the new fees will unfairly burden the poor because they will not be able to pay them, will lose their licenses and possibly their jobs, and then will face tickets for unlicensed driving, which would lead to jail time.

    Michael S. Davis, a veteran Fairfax defense attorney, said he plans to file a legal challenge to the fees the first time he encounters them. "If somebody from out of state does not have to pay the same price," Davis said, "I think there's clearly an equal-protection issue" under the U.S. Constitution.

    Albo said he would agree with that view if the fee were imposed as criminal punishment. "But it's not," he said. "It's a variable registration fee based on the lousiness of your record. We're giving people with good driving records a reduction in their fee. And we can't charge a registration fee on people from New York flying through Virginia."

    Lead-footed drivers should not hold their breath waiting for the legal challenge. Davis said it would have to plow through the state's administrative process before making it to the courts and would be followed by levels of appeals. It would take years.

    The fees were included in a larger package passed by the General Assembly to try to address the burgeoning congestion across the state. When Albo and Rust submitted the fee proposals as legislation by themselves in previous years, they were shot down.

    "My job as a delegate is to make people slow down and build some roads," Albo said. "This bill does both."

    Rust and Albo said New Jersey imposes similar fees to great effect. New Jersey was "pretty convinced it improved safety on the roads," Rust said.

    New Jersey calls the fees "surcharges" and raises about $130 million from them annually, Cathleen Lewis, state motor vehicle agency spokeswoman, said. The money is not specifically earmarked for transportation and has been collected since 1983. The number of points drivers have accrued has decreased since 1983, Lewis said, but there is no study linking the decrease directly to the surcharges. New Jersey charges all drivers, not just residents.

    And most of New Jersey's surcharges are much smaller: $100 for driving without a license, compared with $900 in Virginia. But a first conviction for driving while intoxicated in New Jersey brings a $3,000 hit vs. $2,250 in Virginia.

    In Virginia, the fee can be paid over three years. After the first third is paid at the courthouse, the other two are to be billed by the state Department of Motor Vehicles. DMV officials have not determined how that will work, a spokeswoman said.

    Faced with the prospect of financially poorer drivers losing their licenses when they cannot pay a fee, judges might start suspending part or all of the original fines, Alexandria Commonwealth's Attorney Randolph S. Sengel said. The result "might be increased transportation funding offset by decreased general fund revenue," he said.

    "For someone who's living near the poverty line, or even making $30,000," said Fairfax public defender Todd G. Petit, fees of $1,000 or more might have "a significant impact," and failure to pay them might lead to losing a license, a job and income. "These appear to be punitive measures that are being hidden in civil fees. If we gave the judges discretion to do what is necessary and proportionate, then we can raise the money without disproportionately affecting the poor."

    Lawyers said that more defendants will hire lawyers than before, that the lawyers will charge more money because the stakes are higher and that more cases will be appealed to circuit courts.

    "It's basically the Lawyer Full Employment Act," cracked one Fairfax lawyer, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he stands to benefit from the new law.

    But, Albo said: "it's basically a voluntary tax. If you don't commit a crime on the streets, or run up a huge amount of points, you don't pay anything. We believe its main effect will be to get people to stop driving like maniacs."
    If you don't do it RIGHT today, when will you have time to do it over? (Hall of Fame basketball player/coach John Wooden)

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    thank god its only for Virginia drivers. I got really scared when i heard it yesterday while listening to Xm radio. Whewww i feel so much better now

    Rob

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    MembersZone Subscriber MalahatTwo7's Avatar
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    We believe its main effect will be to get people to stop driving like maniacs."
    One can only hope at least. Although I am still convinced that most local drivers either learned to drive with horse and buggy, or else their licences were "granted" as Crackerjack prizes.
    If you don't do it RIGHT today, when will you have time to do it over? (Hall of Fame basketball player/coach John Wooden)

    "I may be slow, but my work is poor." Chief Dave Balding, MVFD

    "Its not Rocket Science. Just use a LITTLE imagination." (Me)

    Get it up. Get it on. Get it done!

    impossible solved cotidie. miracles postulo viginti - quattuor hora animadverto

    IACOJ member: Cheers, Play safe y'all.

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    i dont even know how many tickets the troopers give out to Va. residents but i know they give out tickets to alot of out of staters like me lol

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    Since these are "Fees" and not Fines, shouldn't they be tax deductable?

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    Forum Member allineedisu's Avatar
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    Same rules for everyone who drives in Virginia. It doesn't matter if you live there or in Resume Speed, Utah. You speed and get caught, throw the same book at them as they would do to a Virginia registered driver!!

    I can see a test case going to the courts on this.
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    Forum Member allineedisu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by eaglesrule1024 View Post
    i dont even know how many tickets the troopers give out to Va. residents but i know they give out tickets to alot of out of staters like me lol


    LOL You must have been violating the law and or speed limits!!
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    Forum Member DennisTheMenace's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MalahatTwo7 View Post
    One can only hope at least. Although I am still convinced that most local drivers either learned to drive with horse and buggy, or else their licences were "granted" as Crackerjack prizes.
    It will have little effect in northern Virginia. Too many of the bad drivers are "not from here". Even if they have lived here for ten+ years, too many still keep their "home state" credentials. Just look at you with your Canadia DL. And all the military, all the folks on the Hill, all the folks with Deleware beach houses(those folks do it to avoid taxes) etc. Might have an effect in SW and central Virginia, but too few folks with VA licenses here. But since I do, thank goodness the local law enforcement brothers seem to give my FD plates "professional courtesy"
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    Quote Originally Posted by nyckftbl View Post
    LOL....dont you people have anything else to do besides b*tch about our b*tching?

  9. #9
    MembersZone Subscriber MalahatTwo7's Avatar
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    Actually Dennis, you are 1/2 right. I do still carry my Canadian licence, but I was also issued a State Department licence and ID, so the only time my CDA licence will come into "play" is if some dork trooper can't read the funny looking blue/green one that reads "United States Department of State".

    **and ya, the picture on it is pretty funny too!**

    But you are right on the military aspect, I see a lot of out of state plates on Fort Belvoir and Fort Myer all the time. I found out recently that its only because I work in the Embassy that I am required to have Department of State drivers licence, plates (thats Tags for you local boys 'n gals LOL) and ID, otherwise local insurance and my old licence and plates would be sufficient.
    If you don't do it RIGHT today, when will you have time to do it over? (Hall of Fame basketball player/coach John Wooden)

    "I may be slow, but my work is poor." Chief Dave Balding, MVFD

    "Its not Rocket Science. Just use a LITTLE imagination." (Me)

    Get it up. Get it on. Get it done!

    impossible solved cotidie. miracles postulo viginti - quattuor hora animadverto

    IACOJ member: Cheers, Play safe y'all.

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    Quote Originally Posted by allineedisu View Post
    LOL You must have been violating the law and or speed limits!!
    Yeah ok...Fine you caught me. I was breaking the law at the most hated saying said to cops and judges "it was late and no one was on the road" lol well it was 1:15 on I-85 and it was only 82 in a 65 LOL but seriously i want to have that trooper honored or something because he really did save my life as it turned out. Later that night when i was 3 miles from my home the roads were wet and i lost traction and spun out doing 60 in a 65 luckily there was no cars on US-1 capital Blvd. in Wake Forest NC and i quickly recovered as per my great handling skills so he definitely saved my Life because i probably would have been doing 80 at 2:30am.

    But since then i learned my lesson not to speed.

    Rob

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    Quote Originally Posted by DennisTheMenace View Post
    It will have little effect in northern Virginia. Too many of the bad drivers are "not from here". Even if they have lived here for ten+ years, too many still keep their "home state" credentials. Just look at you with your Canadia DL. And all the military, all the folks on the Hill, all the folks with Deleware beach houses(those folks do it to avoid taxes) etc. Might have an effect in SW and central Virginia, but too few folks with VA licenses here. But since I do, thank goodness the local law enforcement brothers seem to give my FD plates "professional courtesy"

    True. Iam from NYC and i currently reside in NC but i do still have my NY drivers license. Just was waiting for my Wake Forest Speeding ticket to be taken care of so points wouldnt go on my license. As for the Virginia ticket i have no idea what im going to do with that. Its in Brunswick county. Any help will be appreciated

    Rob

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    Forum Member Jonnee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by eaglesrule1024 View Post
    True. Iam from NYC and i currently reside in NC but i do still have my NY drivers license. Just was waiting for my Wake Forest Speeding ticket to be taken care of so points wouldnt go on my license. As for the Virginia ticket i have no idea what im going to do with that. Its in Brunswick county. Any help will be appreciated

    Rob
    OUCH!! They are too easy on folks in that county. It is like if you are from NC then you should be up on Virginia's laws!

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    Doesn't surprise me a bit. They crack down on everything in that state. They have laws for laws. No loop holes, lol. (lived there 17 yrs)

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    MembersZone Subscriber MalahatTwo7's Avatar
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    Updated report. There have been some rumblings that there is a 100,00 names on a petition to get this overturned. Apparently some communities are doing something a bit more proactive.

    Town Considers Ignoring Most Abusive Driver Fees. Front Royal Officials To Vote On Measure

    POSTED: 7:36 am EDT July 23, 2007
    UPDATED: 7:49 am EDT July 23, 2007

    FRONT ROYAL, Va. -- The town of Front Royal may ignore Virginia's new controversial abusive driver fees. The Town Council is scheduled to vote on Monday on a resolution that would prevent Front Royal police officers from enforcing the fees -- except for drunken driving.

    The fees went into effect July first. They are added to court costs and range from $900 to $3,000.

    The fees apply to charges such as reckless driving, drunken driving and felonious acts that involve driving such as hit-and-run or vehicular manslaughter. But they're so unpopular that some Front Royal council members don't want their police force to be associated with them.

    The sponsor of the measure, Councilman Thomas Sayre, saids the fees are unfair to the town's 14,000 residents and drivers who pass through Front Royal's two-lane highways.

    Under the Front Royal proposal, people cited for driving under the influence would still be subject to the state fees. The resolution would apply only to tickets written by the Front Royal police.

    Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press.
    If you don't do it RIGHT today, when will you have time to do it over? (Hall of Fame basketball player/coach John Wooden)

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    Get it up. Get it on. Get it done!

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    Forum Member SapphyreBlues's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by eaglesrule1024 View Post
    i dont even know how many tickets the troopers give out to Va. residents but i know they give out tickets to alot of out of staters like me lol
    Lemme tell you something. I live about .8 of a mile from the VA state line. Matter of fact, I live in Bristol, TN, which shares a border with Bristol, VA. When you get time, look it up. Anyways...all us Tennesseans call the cops over there the commie patrol, or the gestapo. Not that we don't have respect for the police because we really do. But they will break their backs to give out tickets to TN'ns. I mean, if you did something wrong to get a ticket, that's your problem. But they go out of their way to do it, you know what I mean?

    We go over into VA to buy groceries because the TN tax here is like 10% as compared to VA's 4% or so. You save a lot of money when you have to buy groceries for a family of 5. And if the traffic is going slow you know for a fact that the one slowing them down is from TN. VA cars will darn near run you over. But us TN'ns know better.

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    MembersZone Subscriber MalahatTwo7's Avatar
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    Well I've received one ticket from the State Troopers down Roanoke way - in a Safety Travel Corridor of all things... double the regular fine. That was enough of a lesson for me. Not saying I dont speed, I just make sure and not get caught.... This was definitely one of those times where Diplomat licence plates did not work in my favour. I know from the questions he asked that he had no idea what they meant, and that was the only real reason why he plugged me with the ticket.
    If you don't do it RIGHT today, when will you have time to do it over? (Hall of Fame basketball player/coach John Wooden)

    "I may be slow, but my work is poor." Chief Dave Balding, MVFD

    "Its not Rocket Science. Just use a LITTLE imagination." (Me)

    Get it up. Get it on. Get it done!

    impossible solved cotidie. miracles postulo viginti - quattuor hora animadverto

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    Forum Member DennisTheMenace's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SapphyreBlues View Post
    Lemme tell you something. I live about .8 of a mile from the VA state line. Matter of fact, I live in Bristol, TN, which shares a border with Bristol, VA. When you get time, look it up. Anyways...all us Tennesseans call the cops over there the commie patrol, or the gestapo. Not that we don't have respect for the police because we really do. But they will break their backs to give out tickets to TN'ns. I mean, if you did something wrong to get a ticket, that's your problem. But they go out of their way to do it, you know what I mean?

    We go over into VA to buy groceries because the TN tax here is like 10% as compared to VA's 4% or so. You save a lot of money when you have to buy groceries for a family of 5. And if the traffic is going slow you know for a fact that the one slowing them down is from TN. VA cars will darn near run you over. But us TN'ns know better.
    So you are upset about speeding tickets that you get while you evade taxes?

    TN cops are happy to return the favor to VA residents in that area too.
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    Quote Originally Posted by nyckftbl View Post
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    Forum Member DennisTheMenace's Avatar
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    Oh yeah, I am all for these "Fees" for truely serious driving violations such as repeat offense tailgating, DUI, etc. But "fees" for mearly going above the speed limit are B.S. revenue sources, not deterents, and should be eliminated.
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    Quote Originally Posted by nyckftbl View Post
    LOL....dont you people have anything else to do besides b*tch about our b*tching?

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    Quote Originally Posted by DennisTheMenace View Post
    So you are upset about speeding tickets that you get while you evade taxes?

    TN cops are happy to return the favor to VA residents in that area too.
    Oh I don't get them. I obey the laws. And I certainly understand if they break the laws they need a ticket. I'm just saying they shouldn't go out of their way to do it.

    As for TN cops, I wouldn't know about that because I've never been stopped, and don't know anybody from VA that has.

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    MembersZone Subscriber MalahatTwo7's Avatar
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    I am of two minds on these new fines. I agree with them in the basic concept. However, limiting them to state residents only just plain SUCKS. Even though I fall into a very special category (ya we all knew that LOL ) due to my employment, I still contend that if you commit a moving violation/infraction, you should be required to pay whatever the local laws require - no matter of where you are from. You were "here" and you did something stupid, so PAY UP.
    If you don't do it RIGHT today, when will you have time to do it over? (Hall of Fame basketball player/coach John Wooden)

    "I may be slow, but my work is poor." Chief Dave Balding, MVFD

    "Its not Rocket Science. Just use a LITTLE imagination." (Me)

    Get it up. Get it on. Get it done!

    impossible solved cotidie. miracles postulo viginti - quattuor hora animadverto

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