That’s how we do things in the 804

Yours truly, a bit over a week ago:

Virginia, starting this month, is collecting civil penalties in addition to fines in an obvious effort to fatten the exchequer.

The Old Grouch helpfully pointed out in comments that these applied only to Virginians.

And apparently that particular bit of discrimination was enough to get the law enabling them struck down:

In the first case of its kind, a Henrico County General District Court judge today struck down as unconstitutional the Virginia’s controversial speeding ticket tax that had been in effect since July 1. Judge Archer L. Yeatts III ruled that the civil remedial fees violated the equal protection clause by applying additional, mandatory fines of up to $3000 on Virginia drivers, but not out-of-state drivers who may have committed the same driving violation.

“A ‘dangerous’ driver is a ‘dangerous’ driver, whether he or she is a life-long resident of Virginia or simply passing through on his or her way to another state or county,” Judge Yeatts wrote. “The court rejects the speculations postulated by the commonwealth, and mindful of its obligation to do so, has exhausted its speculation quotient in trying to conceive of any others that would be a rational basis for the distinction between resident and non-resident ‘dangerous drivers’.”

Source here. For now, this applies only to Henrico County. Still to be answered: how a government can pass off a fine as a mere fee.

(Courtesy of Bitter Bitch.)





2 comments

  1. John Vance »

    3 August 2007 · 8:36 pm

    Next the county will be fining people because they
    have been in jail, and should know better.
    Fines should never be issued where its impossible to comply with the law.
    Speedometers, are NOT accurate.
    You cannot change physics with legislation.. They are 10 percent accurate at best. 5% no way.
    The sooner we start getting GPS speedometers the better.

    Maybe we should just outlaw speed cameras. Give a law enforcement a technical device and if its about gathering revenue it will be misused. A few meters over the speed limit doesnt kill. Stupidity and inattention and driving under the influence does.
    Why are 85 percent of the drivers paying for the dangerous driving of 15 percent? This IS what happening. Lets have a reality check All owners of speed cameras have gone absolutely BONKERS, and we the motorists are coming looking for you.

  2. Old Grouch »

    4 August 2007 · 7:02 pm

    Judge Yeatts appears to have his head screwed on correctly. Now we get to hang on for the Commonwealth’s next move. May have to get those “Boycott Virginia” banners back out of my Gimp files.

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