Town strikes DUI repayment

Published 8:54 am Wednesday, July 18, 2018

The Farmville Town Council made a unanimous vote to rescind its policy on collecting reimbursement for DUI and other traffic incidents that involved a convicted party.

Gerald Spates

No one spoke during a public hearing for the policy Wednesday.

“I would recommend to council based on a recommendation from our town attorney that we rescind the ordinance,” Town Manager Gerald Spates said.

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The town code item, under Chapter 21 in the code, article III, section 21-16, permitted the town to receive reimbursement for responding to traffic incidents from a convicted party.

Spates confirmed in an earlier interview the segment of the code was first approved in February 2006. The policy was recommended for rescission due to the reimbursement often being difficult to collect.

The items on the code, available on the town website, cited that motorists who were liable to reimburse the town were those that were convicted of operating a motor vehicle while impaired, and their impairment was the proximate cause of the accident; driving recklessly, and their reckless driving was the proximate cause of the accident; driving without a license or driving with a suspended or revoked license; and improperly leaving the scene of an accident.

The expenses that the town could be reimbursed would include expenses related to “the police department, or by any volunteer fire or rescue squad, or by any combination of the foregoing, when providing an appropriate emergency response to any accident or incident related to such violation.”

“Personal liability under this section for reasonable expenses of an appropriate emergency response shall not exceed ($1,000) in the aggregate for a particular accident or incident occurring in the town,” the code cited. “In determining the ‘reasonable expenses’ the town may bill a flat fee of ($250) or a minute by minute accounting of the actual costs incurred. As used in this section, ‘appropriate emergency response’ includes all costs of providing law-enforcement, fire-fighting, rescue and emergency medical services. The court may order as restitution the reasonable expenses incurred by the town for fire-fighting, rescue and emergency medical services.”

Spates said the town received $250 maximum for each offense. He said they also receive the fines from the court in relation to these incidents.