End driver’s license suspension for unpaid court debt.
License suspensions make our communities less safe, perpetuate and exacerbate poverty, extract limited resources from the most vulnerable among us.
Here’s the Problem:
Florida needs to stop treating courts as revenue centers and fully and fairly fund the courts through general revenue. Over the past three decades, Florida has created more than 20 new types of fines and fees, marking what might be the largest increase in court costs nationwide—and Florida funds its court clerks almost entirely from fines and fees. Florida has over 115 different types of fees and surcharges, the second highest number in the country.
Not only is Florida extracting millions of dollars from its low-income communities, it’s a leader in poverty traps. These license suspensions are not getting dangerous drivers off the road, but instead serve to punish someone for their inability to pay. License suspension takes away a person’s ability to be self-sufficient and independent and disrupts employment for both the employer and the employee. Instead of focusing our limited resources on reckless drivers who threaten public safety, we have criminalized poverty.
- More than 1.1 million Floridians have had their driver’s license suspended simply because they cannot afford to pay a fine.
- Across Florida, over 71% of driver’s license suspension notices issued were related to unpaid court fines or fees.
- Driver’s license suspensions take employees out of the workforce because they cannot reliably get to work.
- Florida could save more than $9.2 million if it stopped suspending driver’s licenses for failure to pay fines and fees.
The Fines and Fees Justice Center’s Florida state campaign is the first sustained effort to reform harmful fines and fees practices statewide and end driver’s license suspension for unpaid court debt.
If you want to get involved with our campaign or simply learn more about it, please contact our Florida State Director, Ashley Thomas, at email@example.com.