Abusive-driving fees shot down 

Virginia’s bad-driver fees faced their first challenge August 2 and were promptly shot down. Henrico General District Judge Archer L. Yeatts III said that the fees passed by the General Assembly were unconstitutional.

Yeatts was ruling in the matter of Anthony O. Price, who was arrested July 2 for driving without a license. Convicted and sentenced to a mandatory 10 days in jail, Price was also fined $250. With the bad-driver fees, the fine could be raised to $1,000.

Price’s attorneys argued that because the law affects only Virginia drivers it violates the equal protection clause of the Constitution. Yeatts agreed, but it’s unclear whether lower courts have the authority to throw out laws on constitutional grounds.

In a press release, Virginia Attorney General Bob McDonnell said that his office is obligated to defend the constitutionality of measures passed by the General Assembly. "As a matter of policy," said McDonnell, "I believe out-of-state drivers should be subject to the abuser-fee law."

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