A Henrico County judge declared the state’s new abusive driver fees unconstitutional on Thursday.
General District Court Judge Archie Yeatts issued the ruling in the case of Anthony Price, who was facing his fifth charge of driving on a suspended license.
With his order, Yeatts instructed Henrico General District Court clerks not to collect civil remedial fees that can reach $1,000 or more for certain driving offenses.
The ruling is binding only in Henrico County but is being immediately appealed to Circuit Court and could eventually reach the Virginia Supreme Court.
The fees have prompted protests from Virginians outraged that they apply only to state residents. Price’s lawyers argued at a hearing last week that forcing him to pay $750 in fees that don’t apply to people who live outside Virginia violates the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection under the law.
Since the fees took effect July 1, critics have called for their immediate repeal in a special legislative session. Gov. Timothy M. Kaine opposes a special session but has suggested legislators revisit the law in the regular session that begins in January.
Kaine said in a statement released Thursday that whether the courts find the law constitutional, he is “committed to addressing the concerns Virginians have raised about this law.”
Then you aren’t committed to addressing the concerns of Virginians, you liar.