Court Payment Plans – Driving While Poor

The Virginia Supreme Court is expected to issue new rules about defendants getting onto payment plans for past due fines and costs, according to this article.

Currently it can be a daunting and sometimes impossible task for lower income people to get their fines and costs onto a payment plan. If you’re past due on any fines without a payment plan, Virginia DMV suspends your license. Which means that you can’t drive to work to make money to pay your fines.

A lot of folks get into a vicious downward spiral where they risk driving to work on a suspended license, then get caught and end up making their situation worse (including more fines, more license suspension, and sometimes jail). I refer to this problem as “driving while poor.”

Some courts require half of the outstanding balance to get onto a payment plan. That doesn’t sound terribly onerous, but sometimes fines and costs for a simple traffic case can easily top $500. A lot of people have trouble coming up with that much money within the default 30 days they have to pay.

A uniform fines / costs payment plan system would be a great change for Virginia. Instead of people giving up and risking their freedom to get to work, hopefully those folks could get onto a reasonable payment plan. Then the Commonwealth could eventually collect its overdue fines / costs, and the defendants could comply with the law.

Andrew Flusche

My name is Andrew Flusche. I am a traffic and misdemeanor defense lawyer in Virginia. I limit my practice to traffic tickets and misdemeanor defense, so I know the ins and outs of these offenses. I literally wrote the book on reckless driving in Virginia which you can get on Amazon here or download for free here. I opened my practice in 2008 after earning my Juris Doctor degree from the University of Virginia School of Law. Since then I have earned over 600 5-star reviews from happy clients on Google, Yelp, Facebook, and Avvo. If you’ve been charged with a misdemeanor offense in Virginia, please don’t hesitate to contact me. Your initial consultation is always free, and you'll talk directly with me about the details of your case.
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