New York Senate Bill 5348: In relation to the suspension of a license to drive a motor vehicle or motorcycle for failure to pay a fine.

This bill would end driver’s license suspensions for failure to pay traffic tickets and failure to appear in traffic court. In New York, driver’s licenses are only suspended for failure to pay or appear in the context of traffic debt – there are no driver’s license suspensions for fines and fees associated with other misdemeanors or felonies. The bill would also automatically reinstate licenses suspended for failure to pay and failure to appear with no need for individuals to pay reinstatement fees or suspension termination fees.

Additionally, this bill would require New York traffic courts to offer reasonable payment plans to defendants at no charge. It requires that courts offer monthly payment plans not exceeding 2% of the person’s monthly net income, or $10 per month, whichever is larger. Here, “monthly net income” means total income minus deductions ordered by law (garnishments, support payments, etc.). The bill would allow courts the discretion to reduce or waive the amount of any fine or fee in the interests of justice.

Finally, the legislation requires that anyone assessed a fine or fee must be notified of their right to a reasonable payment plan at the time the ticket is issued, at the time of sentencing, and in any communication concerning collection of fines and fees.

You can read the full text of the bill here. The Fines and Fees Justice Center’s New York State Campaign is supporting this legislation as part of the Driven By Justice Coalition – read more about our campaign here.

Timothy Kennedy, Pamela Hunter
SB 5348