Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 19.2. Criminal Procedure
Chapter 21. Recovery of Fines and Penalties
9/30/2022

Article 3. Collection and Disposition of Fines.

§ 19.2-348. Attorneys for Commonwealth or clerks to superintend issue of executions, etc.

The attorney for the Commonwealth or the clerk of the circuit court shall superintend the issuing of all executions or judgments for fines and penalties going wholly or in part to the Commonwealth or a county, city or town, in the circuit court or appropriate district court of his county or city.

Code 1950, § 19.1-341.1; 1960, c. 366; 1975, c. 495; 1983, c. 499; 1992, c. 623; 1994, c. 811.

§ 19.2-349. Responsibility for collections; clerks to report unsatisfied fines, etc.; duty of attorneys for Commonwealth; duties of Department of Taxation.

A. The clerk of the circuit court and district court of every county and city shall submit to the judge of his court, the Department of Taxation, the State Compensation Board and the attorney for the Commonwealth of his county or city a monthly report of all fines, costs, forfeitures and penalties which are delinquent more than 90 days, including court-ordered restitution of a sum certain, imposed in his court for a violation of state law or a local ordinance which remain unsatisfied, including those which are delinquent in installment payments. The monthly report shall include the social security number or driver's license number of the defendant, if known, and such other information as the Department of Taxation and the Compensation Board deem appropriate. The Executive Secretary shall make the report required by this subsection on behalf of those clerks who participate in the Supreme Court's automated information system.

B. The clerk of the circuit court and district court of every county and city shall submit quarterly to the attorney for the Commonwealth of his county or city and any probation agency that serves such county or city:

1. A list of all defendants with an outstanding balance of restitution ordered by the court served by such clerk. Such report shall include the defendant's name, case number, total amount of restitution ordered, amount of restitution remaining due, and last date of payment; and

2. A list of all accounts where more than 90 days have passed since an account was sent to collections and no payments have been made toward fines, costs, forfeitures, penalties, or restitution. For accounts where restitution is owed, such report shall include the defendant's name, case number, and total amount of restitution and restitution interest due.

C. It shall be the duty of the attorney for the Commonwealth to cause proper proceedings to be instituted for the collection and satisfaction of all fines, costs, forfeitures, penalties and restitution. The attorney for the Commonwealth shall determine whether it would be impractical or uneconomical for such service to be rendered by the office of the attorney for the Commonwealth. If the defendant does not enter into an installment payment agreement under § 19.2-354, the attorney for the Commonwealth and the clerk may agree to a process by which collection activity may be commenced 90 days after judgment.

If the attorney for the Commonwealth does not undertake collection, he shall contract with (i) private attorneys or private collection agencies, (ii) enter into an agreement with a local governing body, (iii) enter into an agreement with the county or city treasurer, or (iv) use the services of the Department of Taxation, upon such terms and conditions as may be established by guidelines promulgated by the Office of the Attorney General, the Executive Secretary of the Supreme Court with the Department of Taxation and the Compensation Board. If the attorney for the Commonwealth undertakes collection, he shall follow the procedures established by the Department of Taxation and the Compensation Board. Such guidelines shall not supersede contracts between attorneys for the Commonwealth and private attorneys and collection agencies when active collection efforts are being undertaken. As part of such contract, private attorneys or collection agencies shall be given access to the social security number of the defendant in order to assist in the collection effort. Any such private attorney shall be subject to the penalties and provisions of § 18.2-186.3.

The fees of any private attorneys or collection agencies shall be paid on a contingency fee basis out of the proceeds of the amounts collected. However, in no event shall such attorney or collection agency receive a fee for amounts collected by the Department of Taxation under the Setoff Debt Collection Act (§ 58.1-520 et seq.). A local treasurer undertaking collection pursuant to an agreement with the attorney for the Commonwealth may collect the administrative fee authorized by § 58.1-3958.

D. The Department of Taxation and the State Compensation Board shall be responsible for the collection of any judgment which remains unsatisfied or does not meet the conditions of § 19.2-354. Persons owing such unsatisfied judgments or failing to comply with installment payment agreements under § 19.2-354 shall be subject to the delinquent tax collection provisions of Title 58.1. The Department of Taxation and the State Compensation Board shall establish procedures to be followed by clerks of courts, attorneys for the Commonwealth, other state agencies and any private attorneys or collection agents and may employ private attorneys or collection agencies, or engage other state agencies to collect the judgment. The Department of Taxation and the Commonwealth shall be entitled to deduct a fee for services from amounts collected for violations of local ordinances.

The Department of Taxation and the State Compensation Board shall annually report to the Governor and the General Assembly the total of fines, costs, forfeitures and penalties assessed, collected, and unpaid and those which remain unsatisfied or do not meet the conditions of § 19.2-354 by each circuit and district court. The report shall include the procedures established by the Department of Taxation and the State Compensation Board pursuant to this section and a plan for increasing the collection of unpaid fines, costs, forfeitures and penalties. The Auditor of Public Accounts shall annually report to the Governor, the Executive Secretary of the Supreme Court and the General Assembly as to the adherence of clerks of courts, attorneys for the Commonwealth and other state agencies to the procedures established by the Department of Taxation and the State Compensation Board.

The Office of the Executive Secretary of the Supreme Court shall annually report to the Governor, the General Assembly, the Chairmen of the House Committee for Courts of Justice and Senate Committee on the Judiciary, and the Virginia State Crime Commission on the total of restitution assessed, collected, and unpaid for each circuit and district court and the total of restitution collected and deposited into the Criminal Injuries Compensation Fund pursuant to subsection I of § 19.2-305.1 by each circuit and district court.

E. The provisions of this section shall not apply to any orders of restitution docketed in the name of the victim or when it is ordered that an assignment of the judgment for restitution to the victim be docketed.

Code 1950, § 19.1-341.2; 1960, c. 366; 1975, c. 495; 1979, c. 469; 1983, cc. 415, 499; 1988, cc. 742, 750, 770, 852; 1991, c. 202; 1992, c. 623; 1993, c. 269; 1994, cc. 841, 945; 2001, c. 414; 2003, c. 262; 2006, c. 359; 2007, c. 551; 2012, c. 615; 2017, cc. 786, 802, 806, 814; 2018, cc. 724, 725; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, cc. 190, 393.

§ 19.2-349.1. Receipt of unpaid fines, costs, forfeitures, penalties, or restitution by Department of Motor Vehicles.

At the direction of the Committee on District Courts or at the request of a circuit court clerk, the Executive Secretary of the Supreme Court may enter into an agreement with the Commissioner of the Department of Motor Vehicles authorizing the Department of Motor Vehicles to receive, on behalf of a district or circuit court, payment of any delinquent fines, costs, forfeitures, and penalties, including any court-ordered restitution of a sum certain, imposed by a court for the violation of a state law or a local ordinance. However, in no case shall the Department of Motor Vehicles be authorized to establish an installment plan for any such payments or to receive partial payment of the full amount imposed by the court for the violation of a state law or a local ordinance.

For each such payment it receives, the Department of Motor Vehicles may impose and collect a processing fee, to be used to defray the costs of the transaction to the Department. Such transaction fee shall be $2, unless payment is made by credit card or debit card and the merchant's fees and other transaction costs imposed by the card issuer are charged to the Department of Motor Vehicles, in which case the processing fee shall be the greater of (i) $2 or (ii) an amount not to exceed four percent of the amount of the payment. The Department may also collect any processing fee charged by a private vendor operating under contract to distribute to the court payments received by the Department. All processing fees imposed and collected by the Department of Motor Vehicles under this section shall be in addition to the other fees specified in this chapter. All such processing fees collected by the Department of Motor Vehicles shall be paid into the state treasury as provided in § 46.2-206 and used to meet the expenses of the Department of Motor Vehicles. The service charge provided under § 46.2-212.1 shall not be added to the processing fee authorized under this section. Other fees specified in this chapter, including those payable pursuant to collections contracts made by attorneys for the Commonwealth, shall not be diminished or offset due to receipt of payments by the Department of Motor Vehicles.

2015, c. 228.

§ 19.2-350. When sheriff not to receive fines.

No sheriff or other law-enforcement officer shall receive any fine, penalty or costs imposed by a court not of record, except under process duly issued.

Code 1950, § 19.1-342; 1960, c. 366; 1975, c. 495.

§ 19.2-351. How fines disposed of; informer.

Although a law may allow an informer or person prosecuting to have part of a fine or penalty, the whole thereof shall go to the Commonwealth, unless the name of such informer or prosecutor be endorsed on, or written at the foot of, the presentment at the time it is made, or of the indictment before it is presented to the grand jury, or of the information before it is filed, or of the writ issued in the action, or the process on the warrant, or the notice of the motion before service of such writ, process, or notice.

Code 1950, § 19.1-344; 1960, c. 366; 1975, c. 495.

§ 19.2-352. Officers to pay fines to clerks; default; forfeiture, etc.

Every sheriff or other officer receiving money under a writ of fieri facias or capias pro fine shall pay the same to the clerk of the court from which such process issued, on or before the return day of such process; and if such sheriff or other officer fail to pay the money, or fail to return such writ of fieri facias or capias pro fine, he shall, for every such failure, unless good cause be shown therefor, forfeit twenty dollars; and the clerk shall, within ten days from the return day of such process, report the failure to pay such money, or to return such process, to the attorney for the Commonwealth, who shall proceed at once against such officer in default to recover such money and the forfeiture aforesaid.

Code 1950, § 19.1-345; 1960, c. 366; 1975, c. 495.

§ 19.2-353. Certain fines paid into Literary Fund.

The proceeds of all fines and penalties collected for offenses committed against the Commonwealth, and directed by Article VIII, Section 8 of the Constitution of Virginia to be set apart as a part of a perpetual and permanent literary fund, shall be paid and collected only in lawful money of the United States, and shall be paid into the state treasury to the credit of the Literary Fund, and shall be used for no other purpose whatsoever.

Code 1950, § 19.1-346; 1960, c. 366; 1971, Ex. Sess., c. 1; 1975, c. 495.

§ 19.2-353.1. Fieri facias and proceedings thereon.

Any writ of fieri facias issued under this chapter and the proceedings on the same shall conform to the writ of fieri facias and proceedings thereon under Article 19 (§ 8.01-196 et seq.) of Chapter 3 of Title 8.01.

Code 1950, § 19.1-347; 1960, c. 366; 1975, c. 495.

§ 19.2-353.2. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1988, cc. 770, 852.

§ 19.2-353.3. Acceptance of checks and credit or debit cards in lieu of money; additional fee.

Notwithstanding the provisions of § 19.2-353, personal checks and credit or debit cards shall be accepted in lieu of money to collect and secure all fees, fines, restitution, forfeiture, penalties and costs collected for offenses tried in a district court, including motor vehicle violations, committed against the Commonwealth or against any county, city or town. Notwithstanding the provisions of § 19.2-353, personal checks shall be accepted in lieu of money to collect and secure all fees, fines, restitution, forfeiture, penalties and costs collected for offenses tried in a circuit court, including motor vehicle violations, committed against the Commonwealth or against any county, city or town. The clerk of any circuit court shall not be required to but may, in his discretion, accept credit or debit card payment in lieu of money to collect and secure all fees, including filing fees, fines, restitution, forfeitures, penalties, and costs collected. The Committee on District Courts shall devise a procedure for approving and accepting checks and credit or debit cards that shall be accepted by the district courts. Court personnel shall not be held to be guarantors of the payment made in such manner and shall not be personally liable for any sums uncollected. The clerk of the court, in addition to any fees, fines, restitution, forfeiture, penalties or costs, may add to such payment a sum not to exceed four percent of the amount paid for the transaction, or a flat fee not to exceed $2 per transaction, as a reasonable convenience fee for the acceptance of a credit or debit card.

If a check is returned unpaid by the financial institution on which it is drawn or notice is received from the credit or debit card issuer that payment will not be made, for any reason, the fees, fine, restitution, forfeiture, penalty or costs shall be treated as unpaid, and the court may pursue all available remedies to obtain payment. The clerk of the court to whom the dishonored check or credit or debit card was tendered may impose a fee of $50 or 10 percent of the value of the payment, whichever is greater, in addition to the fine and costs already imposed.

The clerk of court may refuse acceptance of checks or credit or debit cards of an individual if (i) he has been convicted of a violation of Chapter 6 (§ 18.2-168 et seq.) of Title 18.2 in which a check, credit or debit card, or credit or debit card information was used to commit the offense, (ii) he has previously tendered to the court a check which was not ultimately honored or a credit or debit card or credit or debit card information which did not ultimately result in payment by the credit or debit card issuer, (iii) authorization of payment is not given by the bank or credit or debit card issuer, (iv) the validity of the check or credit or debit card cannot be verified, or (v) the payee of the check is other than the court.

1979, c. 525; 1988, cc. 770, 852; 1990, c. 899; 1994, cc. 432, 841, 945; 1997, c. 819; 1998, cc. 720, 731; 2001, cc. 481, 501; 2009, c. 594; 2012, cc. 420, 714.

§ 19.2-353.4. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1988, cc. 770, 852.

§ 19.2-353.5. Interest on fines and costs.

A. For purposes of this section, "incarcerated" or "incarceration" means confinement in a local or regional correctional facility, juvenile correctional facility, state correctional facility, residential detention center, or facility operated pursuant to the Corrections Private Management Act (§ 53.1-261 et seq.).

B. No interest shall accrue on any fine or costs imposed in a criminal case or in a case involving a traffic infraction (i) for a period of 180 days following the date of the final judgment imposing such fine or costs; (ii) during any period the defendant is incarcerated; and (iii) for a period of 180 days following the date of the defendant's release from incarceration if the sentence includes an active term of incarceration.

C. A person who owes fines and costs on which interest has accrued during a period of incarceration may move any court in which he owes fines and costs to waive the interest that accrued on such fines and costs during such period of incarceration. Upon certification of the period of incarceration by the superintendent, warden, or other official in charge of a correctional facility on a form developed by the Office of the Executive Secretary of the Supreme Court, such interest shall be waived.

D. In no event shall interest accrue during any period in which a fine, costs, or both a fine and costs are being paid in deferred or installment payments pursuant to an order of the court. Whenever interest on any unpaid fine or costs accrues, it shall accrue at the judgment rate of interest set forth in § 6.2-302.

1987, c. 648; 1988, cc. 106, 508; 1995, cc. 375, 566; 1996, c. 226; 2016, c. 282; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 388.