Thursday, August 02, 2007

Driver abuse fees struck down ... are we happy now?

Today a Henrico County judge declared the new abuser driver fees unconstitutional. Anthony Price, 23, was in court for his sixth time on a charge of driving on a suspended license.

Anthony Price ... 23 years old ... sixth charge of driving on a suspended license.... This was exactly who that law was directed at. It is interesting that it was struck down on a case that proved the point.

House Majority Leader William Howell issued the following statement:

“Members of the General Assembly will continue to monitor closely the legal proceedings surrounding any litigation of the Governor’s Amendment and consider legislative remedies so the law is applied evenly to in-state and out-of-state drivers, as we always intended, and fulfills our intent to deter and punish the most dangerous and repeat abusers of Virginia roads.”


Steve Harkonnen said...

Instead of imposing the new abuser driver fees, they should just permanently remove their privileges to drive in state. Maybe then they'll move to West Virginia.

Lynn R. Mitchell said...

Imagine driving on the same streets with this guy who had been in court SIX TIMES for driving without a license! They didn't explain why he didn't have a license but it doesn't matter ... anyone who doesn't have one probably doesn't deserve one. And I, for one, don't want to face them when I'm out driving.

Perhaps huge fees would be incentive for him to stay off the streets? Usually hitting someone in the wallet sends a strong message.

CR UVa said...

I really would have preferred this happen a different way (say, someone who was getting his first or second offense, or was driving for at least thirty years if getting their sixth), but it is appropriate that this law get struck down. Hitting Virginia drivers with these excessive fees while illegal immigrants and residents of other states was a betrayal by the Commonwealth against the people of Virginia. If these fees are to stand, they need to be universal, not targeted towards Virginia residents in such a transparent attempt at raising taxes for transportation without actually raising taxes.

Lynn R. Mitchell said...

You won't get an argument from me about the fact any fees should be imposed universally across the board instead of exclusively targeting Virginia drivers.

Irregardless, it is ironic the test case that caused the Henrico judge to dismiss fees was someone those fees were supposed to affect -- a habitual offender of the driving laws of Virginia.

Dirk van Assendelft said...

Some comments...

1. As the entire law is written now, these fees cannot be collected from out-of-state drivers, even if they were to apply to out-of-state drivers. The collection point is the license issuing agency, not the courts. So there is no way the state can compell someone from New Jersey to pay these fees.

2. These fees are not an extention or an increase in the speeding fines; they are entirely seperate. The reason is the funds from speeding fines can only be used for a specific purpose - and that purpose is NOT to build roads.

3. The law was not directed at repeat offenders. A judge has no latitude on imposing these fees; these fees will be imposed on drivers even if it is their first infraction, and even if it is a minor infraction. [note: that is not to say I agree - how the heck does someone end up with six such charges by the age of 23? He should be pucking up garbage on the side of the highway in an orange jumpsuit, not driving a car - but I digress).

4. This law was hastily enacted and is very badly written legislation. Both the governor and the legislators that voted for it should be ashamed. If you need money for roads, either find it in the budget or raise taxes directly. If you want to make highways safer, start funding the state police adaquatly, and start enforcing existing laws. But this "fees" business is rediculous.