This bill would have ended the practice of suspending licenses as a sanction for nonpayment of fines and fees. It also mandated that judges reduce fines and fees and provided guidelines for determining a defendant’s ability to pay fines and fees.
Rebellious lawyering empowers those affected by the issue to come up with solutions to their own problems. It should be a collective effort between the lawyers and legal services clients and community members from grassroots organizing groups.
This bill would limit a court's ability to suspend a defendant’s driver’s license, repeal a number of statutes that treat driver’s license suspension as an enforcement mechanism for unpaid fines and fees, and amend several other statutes.
This bill creates a mechanism for Tennessee drivers who have unpaid court debt to keep their licenses from being revoked on that basis.
McDonald had received several traffic tickets, including many for driving without a license, which he could not obtain due to financial holds. When McDonald went to court to take care of his tickets, the judge refused to give him community service even though McDonald lived below the poverty line. Instead, the judge put him on a payment plan for $50 a month.
This joint report by Texas Appleseed and the Texas Fair Defense Project evaluates how often fine-only offenses - offenses punishable only by a fine and no jail sentence – in fact subject Texans to jail time and suspensions of driver’s licenses or the inability to renew a license or register a vehicle because of their inability to pay.
This bill describes how Nebraska courts should proceed in instances where a person cannot pay their fines and fees. It prohibits incarcerating people who cannot afford to pay and allows courts to reduce or waive fines and fees, or offer community service as an alternative.
The legislation provides protocol for how courts can authorize payment plans, deferred payments, and community service in lieu of immediate, full monetary payments.
In misdemeanor and felony cases, Tennessee automatically revoked a person’s driver’s license if they failed to pay court fines and fees one year after they were imposed.
On a rainy night, James took shelter under a bridge and was arrested for criminal trespass. Mr. Thomas was found guilty and assessed court costs. He advised the clerk of his circumstances and never heard anything else about the outstanding debt until 2016, when he was denied a Tennessee’s driver’s license.