Reinstating driver’s license could cost more for some

If your driver’s license has been suspended more than once, you soon may have to pay an extra $5 to get it restored.

That’s the effect of two bills that the General Assembly has sent to Gov. Bob McDonnell to be signed into law.

The measures are House Bill 1791, sponsored by Delegate Robert Tata, R-Virginia Beach, and Senate Bill 1020, sponsored by Phillip Puckett, D-Tazewell. They would impose a $5 reinstatement fee for people who have multiple driver’s license suspensions or revocations. The $5 would be added to each of the other restoration costs such motorists must pay.

“What they’re doing is charging $5 extra for everything, plus there is a cost for each one of those restorations,” Tata said. “You could end up walking out of there with a $1,000 bill.”

Under existing law, the license reinstatement fee is $30; that amount can be doubled if the violation involved driving while intoxicated or certain other crimes. In addition, a $40 fee must be paid to the Trauma Center Fund, which covers emergency medical care for victims of automobile accidents.

The extra $5 fee would be tacked on to each of those other fees for administrative costs. All fees must be paid to have a driver’s license restored.

Tata said his bill seeks to impress upon habitual violators that repeated offenses are serious.

“They should get the message,” Tata said. “Obey the law; just do what you’re supposed to do. It doesn’t cost you anymore, and in the end it will save you a lot.

Puckett said the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles is a fee-supported agency. The fees fund DMV’s operations and helps the agency keep its technology current.

“To help DMV with that situation, we activated a $5 fee for anyone who comes in for a reinstatement,” Puckett said.

To track the legislation affecting driver’s license reinstatement fees, visit: http://www.richmondsunlight.com/bill/2011/sb1020/ or http://www.richmondsunlight.com/bill/2011/hb1791/
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