Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 19.2. Criminal Procedure
Chapter 21. Recovery of Fines and Penalties
9/26/2018

§ 19.2-354.1. Deferred or installment payment agreements. (2018 updated section)

A. For purposes of this section:

"Deferred payment agreement" means an agreement in which no installment payments are required and the defendant agrees to pay the full amount of the fines and costs at the end of the agreement's stated term.

"Fines and costs" means all fines, court costs, forfeitures, and penalties assessed in any case by a single court against a defendant for the commission of any crime or traffic infraction. "Fines and costs" includes restitution unless the court orders a separate payment schedule for restitution.

"Installment payment agreement" means an agreement in which the defendant agrees to make monthly or other periodic payments until the fines and costs are paid in full.

"Modified deferred payment agreement" means a deferred payment agreement in which the defendant also agrees to use best efforts to make monthly or other periodic payments.

B. The court shall give a defendant ordered to pay fines and costs written notice of the availability of deferred, modified deferred, and installment payment agreements and, if a community service program has been established, the availability of earning credit toward discharge of fines and costs through the performance of community service work. The court shall offer any defendant who is unable to pay in full the fines and costs within 30 days of sentencing the opportunity to enter into a deferred payment agreement, modified deferred payment agreement, or installment payment agreement.

C. The court shall not deny a defendant the opportunity to enter into a deferred, modified deferred, or installment payment agreement solely (i) because of the category of offense for which the defendant was convicted or found not innocent, (ii) because of the total amount of all fines and costs, (iii) because the defendant previously defaulted under the terms of a payment agreement, (iv) because the fines and costs have been referred for collections pursuant to § 19.2-349, (v) because the defendant has not established a payment history, or (vi) because the defendant is eligible for a restricted driver's license under subsection E of § 46.2-395.

D. In determining the length of time to pay under a deferred, modified deferred, or installment payment agreement and the amount of the payments, a court shall take into account the defendant's financial resources and obligations, including any fines and costs owed by the defendant in other courts. In assessing the defendant's ability to pay, the court shall use a written financial statement, on a form developed by the Executive Secretary of the Supreme Court, setting forth the defendant's financial resources and obligations or conduct an oral examination of the defendant to determine his financial resources and obligations. The court may require the defendant to present a summary prepared by the Department of Motor Vehicles of the other courts in which the defendant also owes fines and costs. The length of a payment agreement and the amount of the payments shall be reasonable in light of the defendant's financial resources and obligations and shall not be based solely on the amount of fines and costs. The court may offer a payment agreement combining an initial period during which no payment of fines and costs is required followed by a period of installment payments.

E. A court may require a down payment as a condition of a defendant entering a deferred, modified deferred, or installment payment agreement. Any down payment shall be a minimal amount to demonstrate the defendant's commitment to paying the fines and costs. In the case of an installment payment agreement, the required down payment may not exceed (i) if the fines and costs owed are $500 or less, 10 percent of such amount or (ii) if the fines and costs owed are more than $500, five percent of such amount or $50, whichever is greater. A defendant may make a larger down payment than what is provided by this subsection.

F. All fines and costs that a defendant owes for all cases in any single court may be incorporated into one payment agreement, unless otherwise ordered by the court in specific cases. A payment agreement shall include only those outstanding fines and costs for which the limitations period set forth in § 19.2-341 has not run.

G. Any payment received within 10 days of its due date shall be considered to be timely made.

H. At any time during the duration of a payment agreement, the defendant may request a modification of the agreement in writing on a form provided by the Executive Secretary of the Supreme Court, and the court may grant such modification based on a good faith showing of need.

I. A court shall consider a request by a defendant who has defaulted on a payment agreement to enter into a subsequent payment agreement. In determining whether to approve the request for a subsequent payment agreement, the court shall consider any change in the defendant's circumstances. A court shall require a down payment to enter into a subsequent payment agreement, provided that the down payment required to enter into a subsequent payment agreement shall not exceed (i) if the fines and costs owed are $500 or less, 10 percent of such amount or (ii) if the fines and costs owed are more than $500, five percent of such amount or $50, whichever is greater. When a defendant enters into a subsequent payment agreement, a court shall not require a defendant to establish a payment history on the subsequent payment agreement before restoring the defendant's driver's license.

2017, cc. 802, 806.