Mendoza v. Garrett

This case challenges the state of Oregon’s policy of suspending the driver’s licenses of people who cannot afford to pay fines and fees for traffic violations. When someone is delinquent in their payments, the court clerks notify the DMV, which suspends the person’s driver’s license and an additional $15 fee is imposed. Generally, a person must wait 20 years for the suspension to be lifted if they fail to pay the debt. If the court decides to offer the defendant a payment plan, monthly payment amounts are calculated based on the amount owed regardless of the person’s financial circumstances. The presumptive fine for driving with a suspended driver’s license is $440.00. Over 80% of Oregonians travel to work by car, and lower paying jobs require a driver’s license; public transportation isn’t easily accessible.


Case pending before the Portland Division of the District of Oregon.

You can read case documents here: Motion for Certification of a Class, Complaint, Motion for a Preliminary Injunction. You can also read more about the plaintiff.

42 U.S.C. § 1983 (alleging due process and equal protection violations)
September 2018
Oregon Law Center