Tomia Valdez, 42, of Rapid City, is on disability for a degenerative genetic condition and has custody of her 17-year-old son who is on the autism spectrum. She said her driver’s license has been suspended since 2017 because she owes the state $4,000.
Andria Collins is a mother raising eight children in Oklahoma City, OK. She has been struggling with court debt and drivers’ license suspensions for over a decade.
Michael has been without a driver’s license since 2008. He was on a payment plan making payments on misdemeanor court fees he owed in Citrus County, Florida when an auto-draft of his checking account came one week early and Michael defaulted on his payment.
Lance Hartzog's New York driver's license was suspended in 1993 and remained suspended for the duration of his incarceration. The court costs and other fines and fees accrued during this time. After his release from prison in Pennsylvania, he moved home with his wife and together, the two of them worked to pay off the fines. Hartzog was only working minimum wage when he first came home, making an already arduous process that much slower and even more tedious.
Fisher's involvement with law enforcement that led to a suspended license was the result of a DUI for smoking marijuana in 2014. Five years later, his license has still not been reinstated. This is largely due to the extreme financial cost associated with a DUI conviction. In addition to court fees, the DMV also charged Lance expensive and ever accruing fees arising from his DUI during his incarceration.
Timothy Livingston’s only license suspension stems from a ticket for having two broken car lights. Following the police stop, he never received anything in the mail with information regarding how to pay the ticket or the date and time of his court date. However, about nine months after he was stopped, Livingston was shocked and confused when he received a letter stating that a default judgment was entered against him, he owed the court approximately $850, and his license was suspended.
Chris S.’s driver’s license was suspended five times for failure to pay fines. He never received prior notice that his license was being suspended. He never had an opportunity to explain why it should not be suspended.
: Kimberly S. is a mother of three who battled to overcome drug addiction. She has been convicted of failure to pay 10 times in the last four years, each time incurring $450 to $670 in additional debt, and sentences of as much as 30 days in jail.
During the early morning of January 2, 2019, Bertrand was pulled over for his headlight and the officer informed him that his license was suspended. Bertrand had no idea that his license was suspended and later found out that it was because he had unpaid tickets from 5 to 6 years ago.
This report shares the results of a survey of 304 low-income Illinois residents who were asked about their experience with debt, including criminal justice debt. Respondents disclosed the types of debt they had, the number of debts they owed, and the emotional toll debt takes on their families.