Residents of the Commonwealth of Virginia, beware!

Man, am I glad I am not a resident of Virginia. Those who are should be mindful of a new law put into effect July 1st, the date new laws go into effect in the Commonwealth. Commonwealth, defined as "government based on the common consent of the people", took on on a spurious new meaning July 1st in House Bill 3202 with the addition of Civil Remediation Fees. What is a Civil Remediation Fee, you ask? Allow me to present two scenarios:

Suppose you, a resident of the 'CommonWealth' of Virgina are driving along with a broken tail light and a Police Officer stops you and writes a ticket. Prior to July 1st, the ticket would be dispensed with by paying the 75$ fine and correcting the equipment. Total Cost Outlay = $80. No one likes getting ticketed for improper equipment, but the fine is proportional to the offense. After all, it isn't like you were caught feeding corpses into a Tree Chipper, is it?

Now post July 1st, you get the same penalty, ~ $80 as well as a Civil Remediation Fee of $900. $900, the crowds gasp, perhaps a typo? Nope. $900. Think about that for a moment. For an innocuous violation such as a nonfunctional tail light, you must pay the $75 fine, repair the equipment AND PAY NINE HUNDRED DOLLARS!!! At least the 'CommonWealth' is generous enough to spread the $900 into 3 equal annual payments of $300.

That is a very expensive violation indeed. Now take the same scenario, stopped by a Police Officer for a broken tail light, the Officer finds your tires are bald and cites you for Unsafe Equipment. That would be another $75 dollars, right?

Nope, lets work it out:

Violation Citation Fee Equipment Repair Civil Remediation Fee
Broken Tail Light $75 $5 $900
Bald Tires $75 $200 $900
Sub Total $150 $205 $1800
Grand Total $2155

Not pretty. Matter of fact, that scene is uglier than a bowl full of Madagascar Cockroaches. Let us have another look...

Say you are cited for excessive speed. You just happened to enter a 35MPH area while doing 50MPH. We've all accidently done that, haven't we? Based on the above information, you would pay a $200 fine and Civil Remediation Fees of $900, right?

(Sound of Buzzer) WRONG! Depending on your previous driving record, The Civil Remediation Fee could be as large as $2,500. TWO THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS, friends and neighbors.

Now, drive in Virginia all the time but I am a North Carolina resident and am exempt from Civil Remediation Fees. Only Virginia Residents are subject to these massive penalties. Apparently post July 1st, Commonwealth means 'Grabs The Wealth of the Commoners'

From what I can tell, the driving force behind this astronomical increase in penalties is to reduce a budget shortfall in the State Legislature. Delegates were forbidden to touch the gas tax and other existing taxes and this was easy pickings. I can't help but wonder if this was a last minute compromise that just wasn't thought out well enough. Many residents of Virginia would struggle to pay the simple fines and the equipment repair costs. Extra fines of $900-$3000 per offense are unduly burdensome on the populace and are nothing more than blatant Shearing of the Public Sheep. I imagine this will create a certain amount of unrest and certainly influence those who have a choice in Residency.

Oddly enough, the other U.S. State utilizing Civil Remediation fees is New Jersey, state I recently departed. However the Virginia fee is nine to thirty times GREATER than the New Jersey rate.

For more information about this, please check the following Search Results on Civil Remediation Fees in Virginia

Man, am I glad not to be a resident of the Commonwealth.

I imagine I am misinformed about portions of this Bill. The information out there is polarized and inconsistant so please feel free to leave a comment if I have misrepresented something.

Appendix

Here is the subsection of the bill outlining the costs:

view plain print about
1� 46.2-206.1 (C). The court shall assess a person with the following fees upon each conviction of the following offenses:
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31. Driving while his driver's license was suspended or revoked pursuant to � 18.2-272, 46.2-301, 46.2-302, 46.2-341.21, or 46.2-391 shall be assessed a fee to be paid in three annual payments of $250 each;
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52. Reckless driving in violation of Article 7 (� 46.2-852 et seq.) of Chapter 8 or aggressive driving in violation of � 46.2-868.1 shall be assessed a fee to be paid in three annual payments of $350 each;
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73. Driving while intoxicated in violation of � 18.2-266, 18.2-266.1, or 46.2-341.24 shall be assessed a fee to be paid in three annual payments of $750 each;
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94. Any other misdemeanor conviction for a driving and/or motor vehicle related violation of Title 18.2 or this title that is not included in one of the preceding three subdivisions shall be assessed a fee to be paid in three annual payments of $300 each; and
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115. Any felony convictions for a driving or motor vehicle-related offense under Title 18.2 or this title, shall be assessed a fee to be paid in three annual payments of $1,000 each.

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