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WTF!! is wrong with VIRGINIA!!!!

Discussion in 'Mid-Atlantic Cobra Association' started by Evil_SVT, Jun 24, 2007.

  1. Evil_SVT

    Evil_SVT Active Member Established Member

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    This is freaking ridiculous!!! $1000 tax fine for improper lane change!?!?!?!

    VA can kiss my azz!!!

    http://content.hamptonroads.com/story.cfm?story=127172&ran=8101

    Bad-driver fines a potential gold mine for connected law firms

    THE VIRGINIAN-PILOT FILE PHOTO

    Virginia’s new statewide transportation funding plan is bad news for bad drivers. Come July 1, they’ll get hit with big new fines for such infractions as reckless driving and driving while intoxicated.

    But the hefty penalties could be a bonanza for the politically connected law firms that chase down unpaid court fines.

    In all but one city in South Hampton Roads, these firms have exclusive contracts that pay them as much as 30 percent of the amount collected.

    One of them, Huff, Poole & Mahoney of Virginia Beach, earned more than $2 million in collection fees in fiscal 2006.

    What a DUI fine will cost

    A first-offense DUI conviction typically brings a $250 fine; the new law tacks on an additional $2,250 after July 1.

    How fines are collected

    Municipalities have the option of outsourcing collection work to the state Department of Taxation, which charges less and collects a greater percentage than private collectors. However, some cities - including four local ones - contract to private firms, which can earn as much as 30 percent of the amount collected.

    The contracts are awarded by local commonwealth’s attorneys, who get campaign contributions from the lawyers they hire.

    Most Virginia localities, including Suffolk, farm out the collection work to the state Department of Taxation, which charges lower fees and has a higher collection rate than the private law firms.

    That works out to be the best deal for the taxpayers, Suffolk Commonwealth’s Attorney Phil Ferguson says. None of his counterparts elsewhere in Hampton Roads could explain how using private collection agents is more cost-effective than using the state service.

    However, they all agree on one thing: After July 1, there will be more money to collect. Much more.

    The new fines, called “civil remedial fees,” are in the range of 10 times the fines typically meted out now by local judges. For example, a typical fine for reckless driving is $100; the new penalty, to be imposed on top of the existing fine, is $1,050. A first-offense DUI conviction typically brings a $250 fine; the new law tacks on an additional $2,250.

    The new fines are mandatory. Judges have no discretion to lower or suspend them.

    “It’s going to have a significant financial impact on some people,” Ferguson said. “And if they can’t pay, what will happen is, their licenses will be revoked and then they’ll be driving around on revoked licenses. Because they’ll owe so many fines and costs, they’ll almost never get out from under it.”

    The new fines are spread out in three equal annual installments. The first is payable to the court upon conviction, the second and third to the Department of Motor Vehicles. The projected annual revenue to the state is $65 million.

    The new law does not say how the penalties are to be collected, and details are still being worked out.

    Under existing law, when court fines go unpaid for 40 days, they become the responsibility of the local commonwealth’s attorney, the elected lawyer who prosecutes state crimes. A few prosecutors handle the collection work in-house, but most outsource it.

    Since 1994 they have had the option of farming the work out to the state Department of Taxation. Last year, 102 of the state’s 126 localities chose that option.

    Ferguson, the Suffolk prosecutor, has been in office nearly 30 years. He once used a private collection agent but turned the work over to the Department of Taxation years ago and has no regrets.

    “They had an excellent collection record, and it was half the cost, so the taxpayers got back more money,” he said.

    Statewide, the Department of Taxation achieved a 76.7 percent collection rate last year and charged 17.3 percent of the amount collected in fees, according to statistics compiled by Virginia’s Compensation Board. Every private collection agent collected less and charged more.

    Except for Suffolk, every city in South Hampton Roads uses private law firms to collect unpaid court fines.

    Huff, Poole & Mahoney, Attorney General Bob McDonnell’s old firm, handles more of the work than any other firm in the state. It has the collection contracts in Virginia Beach and Chesapeake, which brought in more than $1.6 million in fees in fiscal year. Additional contracts in Chesterfield and Essex counties pushed the firm’s total collection revenue to more than $2 million.

    Huff, Poole & Mahoney has a staff of two lawyers and 26 non-lawyers devoted to court collection work, according to David Zobel, the attorney who runs the unit. The firm compiled a collection rate of 58.9 percent and charged 29.2 percent in fees last year. The firm has given $6,000 in campaign contributions to Virginia Beach Commonwealth’s Attorney Harvey Bryant since 2001.

    Bryant said he has put the collection contract out for bid once since he took office in 2000. Huff, Poole & Mahoney was the only bidder. The firm’s campaign contributions were “absolutely not” a factor in the awarding of the contract, he said.

    Huff, Poole & Mahoney has also given $1,500 in contributions to Chesapeake Commonwealth’s Attorney Nancy Parr. Roland “Bucky” Dodson, the collection agent for Portsmouth, has given $980 to Commonwealth’s Attorney Earle Mobley. The Glasser and Glasser law firm, the collection agent for Norfolk, has given $250 to Commonwealth’s Attorney Jack Doyle.

    The standard state contract for court collection agents includes a section in which the agent certifies he has made no payment to “any public employee having official responsibility for making the award of this contract.”

    Local commonwealth’s attorneys said they do not believe that provision applies to campaign contributions.

    “I don’t think it’s a violation because that’s a political contribution,” Bryant said. “It’s not to me personally. It’s not anything that I benefit from personally.”

    The local prosecutors said a big factor in their selection of collection agents was their local presence and the convenience it affords debtors.

    “I wanted a street-level, retail presence so that people who owed money had somewhere they could go and talk to somebody,” Doyle said.

    Doyle’s collection agent, Glasser and Glasser, is across the street from the Norfolk courts complex. “What’s good about private collection agents is the service to the constituents,” said Mark Groves, the attorney who runs Glasser and Glasser’s collection unit.

    The private collection agents say one reason for the Department of Taxation’s higher collection rate is that it has access to state databases – useful for locating debtors and identifying their employers – that are not available to private agents.

    That’s not so, said Kathy Lohr, who runs the Department of Taxation’s court debt collection unit. She said her office has no collection tools that private agents don’t have.

    “I think one of the big differences is that we’re just set up strictly to collect court fines and fees. We don’t do anything else,” Lohr said. “Also, the second biggest advantage I think we have here is that we do not do it for profit. So our contingency fee is quite a bit less than the private attorneys’ fees.”

    How lucrative is the work? Ask Dodson, a solo practitioner who collects Portsmouth’s unpaid court fines from his downtown law office with the help of two assistants.

    The city contract, which he has held since 2002, brought Dodson $300,000 in fees last year even though he collected less than 30 percent of the fines owed.

    “It has paid off for me,” Dodson said. “It’s such a volume, you just wouldn’t believe it. I wouldn’t have believed it, either.”


    Bill Sizemore, (757) 446-2276, [email protected]
     
  2. gcassidy

    gcassidy One more lap! Established Member

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  3. SnakeEyes03

    SnakeEyes03 MTC Established Member

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    Yep I'm not getting into it again.

    I say it once, I'll say it again. IF YOU ARE A BAD DRIVER...YOU'LL GET SCREWED...IF YOU ARE A GOOD DRIVER, YOU HAVE NOTHING TO WORRY ABOUT.
     
  4. F8LBITEva

    F8LBITEva Alexis Texas' #1 fan Established Member

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    VA is big business!!!!
     
  5. nitrovic

    nitrovic Member Established Member

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    Most cops hate these type of money making laws. It just means a bunch of "not guilty" pleas and trials come the court date. Most cops just want to do their required time and go back home. These dumb laws make me never want to write a ticket again (not that i write a lot now). It's upsurd. I understand putting the screws to the DUI's and street racers who cause accidents or homicides, but illegal lane change is weak.
     
  6. DonkeyTuna

    DonkeyTuna Idn't dat sump'n! Established Member

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    There is a 3rd category....you're a good driver who came across an emotional or zealous officer of the law at the wrong time under the wrong circumstances.

    Define BAD Driver and define Screwed? And how screwed is getting screwed, reasonable and justifiable?

    Sounds like its better to get caught stealing purses and possessing controlled substances than it is to get caught changing lanes? I guess there just isn't as large and profitable a market for the previous?
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2007
  7. SPRAYED DAILY

    SPRAYED DAILY MACA Established Member

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    +1 :beer:
     
  8. pj_rage

    pj_rage Mustang Enthusiast Established Member

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    Interesting way to put it. You'd have to define "better," but from the sound of it, some people may define it that way.
     
  9. SnakeEyes03

    SnakeEyes03 MTC Established Member

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  10. Evil_SVT

    Evil_SVT Active Member Established Member

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    yes but this has nothing to do about the LEO's this is about how the state of VA is F**** us! and this is just the beginning of more BS to come!
    Yes I don't like it and I will be moving:rockon:
     
  11. F8LBITEva

    F8LBITEva Alexis Texas' #1 fan Established Member

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    The Communist-Wealth of Virginia. Yeah its not the cops fault they are just doing their jobs, Mike's helped me out in the past but just like every other profession you run into assholes. Sorry I used to pick on you Mike, no hard feelings.;-)
     
  12. SnakeEyes03

    SnakeEyes03 MTC Established Member

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    lol...hey when i need someone to translate for me....i'm calling you

    EVEN IF ITS 4am...thanks Jose you're the best :)
     
  13. Evil_SVT

    Evil_SVT Active Member Established Member

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    These two get the cake! No more tint or fuzzy dize!! :(
    RD - VIEW OBSTRUCTED - FELONY (C)5 $1,000 Felony 6
    OPERATE WITH SMOKE SCREEN/FELONY (C)5 $1,000


    I know some of you will get these tow out the bat :)
    OPERATE MOTOR VEHICLE WITH WORKING N2O DEVICE (C)3 $300
    OPERATE MOTOR VEHICLE WITH BELOW-STANDARD TIRES (C)3 $300


    And some of the other ones..
    FAIL STOP FOR PEDESTRIAN WITH WHITE CANE (C)4 $300
    AGGRESSIVE DRIVING (C)2 $350
    AID AND ABET RACING (C)4 $300
    RACING - FELONY (C)5 $1,000
    RACING ON PARKING LOTS, ETC - FELONY (C)5 $1,000 Felony 6
    FAIL TO GIVE PROPER SIGNAL - FELONY (C)5 $1,000 Felony 6
    DRIVE TOO FAST FOR CONDITIONS - FELONY (C)5 $1,000 Felony 6
    SPEEDING EXCESS OF 80 MPH - FELONY (C)5 $1,000 Felony 6
    SPEED 20/MORE ABOVE SPEED LIMIT - FELONY (C)5 $1,000 Felony 6
    RD -OPERATE IMPROPER BRAKES - FELONY (C)5 $1,000
    NO DRIVER'S LICENSE - VEHICLE/MOTORCYCLE (C)4 $300
     
  14. F8LBITEva

    F8LBITEva Alexis Texas' #1 fan Established Member

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    WTF!!!!!!!

    the fine for tint is $1000????
     
  15. TeddyKGB

    TeddyKGB Drunk on Power Established Member

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    Driving with dark tint is one 1k while buzzing by a blind person trying to cross the street is only $300? Makes perfect sense to me.
     
  16. F8LBITEva

    F8LBITEva Alexis Texas' #1 fan Established Member

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    these fines are really going to give people a reason to run from the cops.
     
  17. NOXCUSES

    NOXCUSES Z0SICK Established Member

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    I guess I wont be going to virginia anytime soon
     
  18. HISSMAN

    HISSMAN The Great Bearded One Staff Member Super Moderator

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    My lord Virginia is going to be full of Felons. LOL

    I am glad I moved away from there when i was seven. WV is a very driver friendly state compared to most. Virginia, Cali, NJ = Nazi.

    I am not talking about the LEOs. I am talking about the legislature.
     
  19. TeddyKGB

    TeddyKGB Drunk on Power Established Member

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    The extra civil fine does not extend to out of stater's. If you get nailed in VA all you have to deal with is the same penalties as you always have.
     
  20. SnakeEyes03

    SnakeEyes03 MTC Established Member

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    NO NO NO...tint is not $1k. Smoke screen is $1k and never have I ever heard of anyone writing that ticket. Again I'm not saying I like these new fines. However, MD's Nitrous charge is $500 + court costs. I know because my buddy got that ticket, and they towed his car. Additionally, we could always do what CA is doing now....crushing cars that race on the highway?? And as for the No License. I had court today and I had 5 no license tickets. This is one of the most annoying tickets, because people from other countries (cough cough...Joses aunts and uncles) dont think think they need a license.
     

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