Report: Court costs can be crippling for low-income Virginia drivers

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) – Advocates for low-income Virginians say more must be done to prevent poor people from losing their driver’s licenses because of unpaid fines and court costs.

In a recent report, the Legal Aid Justice Center says more than 900,000 Virginians – about one in six of the state’s drivers – had their licenses suspended because of unpaid court costs or fines in 2015.

The organization says it surveyed 105 general district courts in Virginia and found that many have not yet implemented recommendations made last year by the policy-making Judicial Council.

Those recommendations include assessing debtors’ ability to pay before imposing a payment plan, not requiring down payments, and allowing community service as an alternative. The center says many courts haven’t made those reforms.

(Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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