This bill would end driver's license suspensions for unpaid fines and fees in Florida and allow people who owe fines and fees to make reasonable installment payments.
Driving on Empty shows how driver’s license suspension for nonpayment in Florida detracts from public safety, and outlines the racial and economic disparities perpetuated by this practice.
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.
Plaintiff James Ficken had grass over ten inches for about eight weeks during the summer of 2018 while he was out of town settling his mother’s estate. Without warning, he was hit with daily fines totaling $29,000. As a result of his inability to pay the $29,000 in fines, the City placed two liens on his property. Mr. Ficken requested a rehearing or reconsideration of the fines, but his request was rejected without explanation. He now faces imminent foreclosure because he does not have the money to satisfy the liens.
The bill provides that driver’s licenses may not be suspended for failure to pay fines and fees unless the person has the ability to pay but refuses to do so. It also provides that courts must provide alternatives to immediate payment of fines and fees for people who are indigent, such as payment plans and community service.
This policy brief explains some of the justifications for Florida’s practice of suspending driver’s licenses and explores the consequences of that practice—driver’s license suspension disproportionately burdens low-income individuals and has …
Each year, the Florida Clerks & Comptrollers release a consolidated summary with data about the fines and fees that were assessed and collected statewide.
The author conducted qualitative research to assess the effect of private probation on people under parole supervision for misdemeanor offenses in Florida, Kentucky, Missouri, and Tennessee. In some of these states, private parole officers have the authority to control critical aspects of a person’s parole terms.
This 2018 bill - which did not pass - marks the third consecutive year that Senator Jeff Brandes (R-St. Petersburg) introduced legislation to end driver’s license suspension for nonpayment of fines and fees in Florida. This bill would also have required courts to provide reasonable payment alternatives for poor defendants, including payment plans and performing community service to pay fines.
In Thompson v. State of Florida, the plaintiff, an indigent mother of three, had her probation revoked for failure to pay fines and fees.