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License suspensions for unpaid Virginia court fines – soon to end

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Dec 24, 2018 License suspensions for unpaid Virginia court fines – soon to end

License suspensions for unpaid Virginia court fines - soon to end

License suspensions for unpaid Virginia court fines – soon to end

License suspensions for unpaid Virginia court fines- Virginia criminal lawyer

License suspensions and revocations are a harsh reality for those who miss Virginia court deadlines for paying court-ordered fines, costs and restitution. As a Virginia criminal lawyer, I know that driving on a suspended or revoked driving license can bring serious penalties.

Virginia criminal attorney on excellent movement by the judiciary, governor and legislature to stop driver license suspensions for late court payments

This past week, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam promoted ending the practice of suspending driver licenses for late court payments (apparently with legislative backing), and a federal trial judge issued a preliminary injunction against such practices.

When a person living paycheck to paycheck — or worse — loses his or her driving privileges over being unable to meet court payment deadlines, the inability to drive can lead to the loss of one’s job or income to the point that the licensee might risk violating the criminal law against suspended or revoked driving. Of course, such a conviction is a jailable misdemeanor that carries fines and lengthier driving suspension periods.

To invigorate this end to suspending Virginia driving privileges for unmet court payments, a Virginia federal trial judge on December 21, 2018, not only enjoined that practice as to the plaintiffs challenging such suspensions, but also underlined the likelihood that the plaintiffs will prevail on the merits of their lawsuit. Stinnie v. Holcomb, ___ F. 3d ___ (W.D. Va., Dec. 21, 2018).

The crux of Stinnie follows:

A ‘driver’s license is a property interest protected by the Fourteenth Amendment and, once issued, a driver’s license may not be taken away without affording a licensee procedural due process.’ Scott v. Williams, 924 F.2d 56, 58 (4th Cir. 1991); Plumer v. Maryland, 915 F.2d 927, 931 (4th Cir. 1990) (‘It is well settled that a driver’s license is a property interest that may not be suspended or revoked without due process.’). Accordingly, the Court turns to whether § 46.2-395 provides due process.”

Stinnie. 

Fairfax criminal lawyer on the momentum against suspending driving privileges for unmet court payments on the heels of the next state legislative session

So often, people with limited financial resources do not have enough champions for their causes before the courts, legislatures, executive branch of government, and court of public opinion. Thankfully, this cause to end Virginia driving suspension for late court fee payments has gained momentum, and at the right time, with the Virginia legislative session fast approaching.

Virginia voters can help with this momentum by encouraging their legislators and the governor on this path. You can find your Virginia state senators and delegates here.

Virginia criminal lawyer Jonathan L. Katz pursues your best defense against felony, misdemeanor, DUI/DWI, and drug prosecutions. Jon Katz will be delighted to discuss your case with you, by your calling his staff at 703-383-1100 to schedule a confidential consultation. 

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