Repeat DUI Offenders and the Virginia Trauma Center Fund
Across the Commonwealth of Virginia, driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs can result in property damages, serious injury, and even death. When one person decides to drive under the influence, they put other people and property at risk. And if there is an accident, first responders spend valuable time and resources to provide medical assistance and clean up any damage. Despite strict laws against intoxicated driving, this behavior continues to put a heavy strain on state resources and emergency services.
In 2004, the Virginia General Assembly took legislative action to help offset the cost of dealing with DUI-related accidents. The legislators created a special fund — known as the Trauma Center Fund — to help trauma centers deal with the escalating costs of automotive accidents related to alcohol or drugs.
What is the Trauma Center Fund?
Code of Virginia Section 18.2-270.01 establishes a special fund to help offset the costs of providing emergency medical care to victims of DUI accidents. The fund consists of payments from repeat intoxicated drivers and appropriations from the Virginia General Assembly.
Unlike other funds, the Trauma Center Fund is non-reverting. At the end of each year, remaining money in the fund carries over to the next fiscal cycle. Money in the Trauma Center Fund does not revert back to the Assembly’s general fund.
The Department of Health administers the Trauma Center Fund, deciding how to allocate available money. Using established criteria, the Department of Health awards funds to various trauma centers across Virginia based on the cost of providing medical care to victims of DUI-related accidents.
When Does a DUI Offender Contribute to the Trauma Center Fund?
Section 18.2-270.01 requires repeat offenders of various DUI crimes to pay $50 to the Trauma Center Fund. This section applies to any person who has two or more qualifying DUI convictions within a 10-year period. Specifically, the following criminal offenses qualify under Section 18.2-270.01:
- Involuntary manslaughter (Code of Virginia Section 18.2-36.1);
- Maiming another person while driving under the influence (Code of Virginia Section 18.2-51.4);
- Driving under the influence (Code of Virginia Section 18.2-266);
- Underage driving under the influence (Code of Virginia Section 18.2-266.1); and
- Driving a commercial vehicle under the influence (Code of Virginia Section 46.2-341.24).
Additionally, Section 18.2-270.01 includes similar laws and ordinances from other U.S. states and the federal government. If a person violates another state or federal law that is substantially similar to the offenses listed above, it may qualify as a prior conviction under Section 18.2-270.01.
Contact Us Today for Help
If you have legal questions about DUI offenses in Virginia, it can be extremely beneficial to speak with a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney. The attorneys at Simms Showers LLP have many years of combined legal experience representing criminal defendants in Virginia, including DUI offenders. If you need legal help with criminal defense, contact us today for a free initial consultation.