Virginia drivers likely know that laws are tough against those suspected of driving under the influence. Now, some counties are looking to add to the already stiff punishments connected to DUI charges by imposing fees based on dispatching responders. Virginia law allows localities to impose civil fees for traffic offenses, including DUI, that require emergency response assistance. This may include police, fire, and emergency medical crews.
The new ordinance being considered by one Virginia county includes a flat fee of $350 for individuals convicted of DUI charges whose actions required the assistance of police, fire or emergency medical personnel. Other counties have adopted a similar measure with a fee of $250. This fee will be in addition to any criminal fees that the person convicted of DUI charges may be assessed.
The individual convicted of DUI may be subject to paying the fee when they are sentenced, or potentially via a separate civil case. The goal of imposing this new fee is for counties to recoup funds spent by dispatching police, fire, and emergency medical personnel. Franklin County estimates that this fee could result in nearly $18,000 per year for the county. Franklin County has stated that they are not enforcing the new fee at this time, but are working out details first.
Virginia law is rightfully strict toward those suspected of driving under the influence. There are many factors which can play into a DUI case, which is why it is important for those charged to understand their rights and responsibilities, and to seek any alternatives to traditional proceedings. Anyone facing DUI charges will be subject to expenses such as fees or fines, lost wages, and more. Now, if convicted, they will also be faced with civil fees, which may leave many individuals in a financial hardship
Source: Roanoke.com, "Franklin Co. adds fine for DUI response," Evelyn Rupert, July 18, 2012