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.

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, and Facebook. 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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