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.
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.
Amy Garrison was 16 years old when she was stopped by a police officer and ticketed for not completely stopping at a stop sign. At the time, Garrison was working a minimum wage job and living on her own.
This fact sheet for Virginia drivers provides guidance on how they can go about reinstating driver’s licenses that were suspended for unpaid court debt.
Driver’s license suspensions for unpaid fines and fees are both counterproductive and harmful to millions nationwide, particularly the poorest people in our communities.
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.
This bill would end driver’s license suspensions for failure to pay traffic tickets and failure to appear in traffic court. The bill would also automatically reinstate licenses suspended for failure to pay and failure to appear with no need for individuals to pay reinstatement fees or suspension termination fees.
The North Carolina Next Step Act provides that courts may no longer revoke driver’s licenses for unpaid fines and fees unless there is a court finding at sentencing that the person is able to pay and the person’s license should be revoked if the person fails to pay.