This short documentary film tells the story of two St. Louis women who were unjustly incarcerated because of failure to pay their fines and fees.
Since 2010, dozens of cities in California have hired a private law firm to prosecute people on the city’s behalf for municipal code violation and in civil forfeiture cases.
John was arrested for driving with a suspended license in December 1999 and given $400 in court fines, fees, and costs. It wasn’t until February 2018 – nearly 20 years after he was originally arrested – that he finally completed his sentence by spending 20 days in jail to pay down his debt.
In this report, the Chicago Jobs Council describes how suspending a person’s driver’s license for unpaid fines and fees can prevent them from ever paying off their debt and destabilize their finances.
Reneau got 15 tickets in a single year, including 7 $200 citations for not having a city sticker. She turned to Chapter 13 bankruptcy for debt forgiveness.
In this report, Mario Salas and Angela Ciolfi analyze driver’s license suspension policies in all 50 states and describe the harmful consequences of “license-for-payment” systems.
Demetrice Moore is a certified nursing assistant and mother of two children. In 2002, she was convicted of grand larceny, and sentenced to jail and to pay court costs, including the cost of the lawyer appointed to represent her because she was indigent. She served her jail time, but was unable to pay the court costs she owed, which resulted in the automatic suspension of her Virginia driver’s license.
"The court fines for Virginia were $611 as well as a $150 driver's license reinstatement fee to the Virginia DMV. Once my case was transferred to Illinois, where I live, I was charged by my home county another $600 for probation services fees. In total, court fees cost me $1361."
Amy Marie Palacios is a single mother with two children, who earned $20,090 in 2016 - below the federal poverty line for her three-person household. Her driver’s license was suspended in 2015 because she failed to pay the fine for a speeding ticket.
Ms. Corder drove to work with a suspended license because her job was her only source of income. She was stopped by law enforcement, received three new citations, and her car was impounded. As a result, she owed $1320 in fines and fees.