Glance: Group says court costs cripple low-income drivers

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Advocates for low-income Virginians say more must be done to prevent poor people from losing their driver's licenses because of unpaid fines and court costs. Among the recommendations and findings in the Legal Aid Justice Center report:

- The court should assess a debtor's financial condition before establishing a payment plan. At least 65 of the state's 105 courts fail to do so, and 28 require a minimum monthly payment of $50 regardless of the person's ability to pay that amount.

- The court should consider the debtor's financial obligations to other courts in determining ability to pay. At least 90 do not.

- Debtors should have the option to perform community service. At least 59 courts do not list that as an option in their written policies.

- A down payment should not be required. At least 19 courts require a down payment even before default, and many others impose significant payments to re-establish a plan after default.

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