Cook v. Taylor

Pursuant to a Rule of Criminal Procedure, Alabama courts suspend the drivers’ licenses of people who owe fines and fees for traffic tickets without prior notice or any inquiry into their ability to pay. The license is suspended until the fine is paid in full, and the motorist pays a $100 reinstatement fee. Driving with a suspended license can result in imprisonment for up to six months and a $500 fine with court costs. Alabama has one of the highest rates of poverty of any state in the country, and the majority of the residents travel to work by car because of the poor quality of the transit system. In 2018, nearly 23,000 Alabamans had their licenses suspended.

This class action alleges that Alabama’s driver’s license suspension practices violate equal protection and due process because people are being punished without any determination of their ability to pay.


Pending before the Northern Division of the Middle District of Alabama.

You can read more about the case via the SPLC website (link to complaint).

42 USC § 1983 (alleging due process and equal protection violations)
November 2018
Southern Poverty Law Center