6/21/2007Virginia 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.
The Virginia Supreme Court provides a full explanation of the new penalties for each traffic infraction in the 34k PDF file at the source link below. Update: View which legislators support a repeal, link to online petition.
Further update: On March 27, 2008 the abuser fees law was repealed. For our full coverage of the effort that forced lawmakers, reluctantly, to end the practice, see here.