No person shall cause any motor vehicle to become an abandoned motor vehicle as defined in § 46.2-1200. In any prosecution for a violation of this section, proof that the defendant was, at the time that the vehicle was found abandoned, the owner of the vehicle shall constitute in evidence a rebuttable presumption that the owner was the person who committed the violation. Such presumption, however, shall not arise if the owner of the vehicle provided notice to the Department, as provided in § 46.2-604, that he had sold or otherwise transferred the ownership of the vehicle.A summons for a violation of this section shall be executed by mailing a copy of the summons by first-class mail to the address of the owner of the vehicle as shown on the records of the Department of Motor Vehicles. If the person fails to appear on the date of return set out in the summons, a new summons shall be issued and delivered to the sheriff of the county, city, or town for service on the accused personally. If the person so served then fails to appear on the date of return set out in the summons, proceedings for contempt shall be instituted.Any person convicted of a violation of this section shall be subject to a civil penalty of no more than $ 500. If any person fails to pay any such penalty, his privilege to drive a motor vehicle on the highways of the Commonwealth shall be suspended as provided in § 46.2-395.All penalties collected under this section shall be paid into the state treasury to be credited to the Literary Fund as provided in § 46.2-114.
1990, c. 725.