Shelby County District Attorney declines to prosecute driving on a suspended license where underlying suspension is for unpaid fines and fees

After experimenting with this policy for about two months, Shelby County District Attorney Amy Weirich has permanently adopted a policy of declining to prosecute driving on a suspended license in cases where the license was suspended or revoked for nonpayment of fines and fees. Between September 1 and October 20, 2018, Shelby County dismissed 3,643 cases of driving on a suspended license, reducing the District Attorney’s Office caseload by 43%. In Memphis, around 40,000 licenses are suspended or revoked annually, and only about 20,000 are reinstated each year.

Unfortunately, the Memphis Police Department has not followed suit, announcing that they will continue to arrest individuals who drive on a suspended license (even if the suspension was for fines and fees).

It is going to free up individuals in our office and in other parts of the criminal justice system to focus our time and energy on the issues that matter. To focus on the violent crime, to focus on what it is that really has the community concerned. –DA Amy Weirich

You can read the policy here and more about the policy change via the Daily Memphian.

Yolanda Jones (article author), DA Amy Weirich