Court Costs and Fines

A hot topic throughout the country, Virginia is among the worst offenders when it comes to piling court costs and fines on defendants, then punishing them for nonpayment. Nonpayment results in license suspensions, which affect employability, the ability to retain a job, and the likelihood of rearrest and incarceration both for nonpayment itself, as well new charges for driving on a suspended license. The result is that the effects of criminal convictions are compounded, years into the future, creating a form of modern day “debtor’s prison.” The legislature should act to reduce the harmful effects of this counterproductive financial enforcement scheme.