In this video recording of a White House Forum on Access to Justice panel, FFJC Co-Director Lisa Foster (then Director of the Office of Access to Justice at the Department of Justice) moderates a panel about how fines and fees in the criminal justice system can lead to a myriad of civil woes for low-income Americans.
West Virginia Senate Bill 634 established the state’s second chance driver’s license program. The program allows for temporary stays of driver’s license suspensions and revocations so that people who have unpaid fines and fees can retain gainful employment and settle their court debt.
This bill invited criminal justice system stakeholders to participate in a work group to develop a plan and program to consolidate drivers’ traffic fines and fees from multiple Washington courts into “unified and affordable” payment plans.
This Act modifies provisions related to driver’s license suspensions. Specifically, it (1) terminates suspensions imposed because of a person’s failure to appear on a criminal traffic offense charged before July 1, 1990.
This report is the result of a collaborative research project from 20 community-based organizations that studied the costs of incarceration on families across 14 states.
California's statewide traffic and misdemeanor amnesty program led to the reinstatement of 246,000 driver's licenses and $45M in new revenue.
This bill provides that driver’s licenses will not be suspended for nonpayment of “minor traffic” fines and fees or for failure to appear in court. However, it does mandate that driver’s licenses cannot be renewed (nor can duplicate licenses be issued) if an individual still owes fines and fees.
This 2015 report provides a comprehensive overview of how California’s approach to the enforcement of fines and fees for traffic violations creates a two-tiered justice system—those who can afford to pay escape the system, while those who are too poor to pay are trapped.
Maria was recently terminated from a job in her field of training, green construction, because her license was suspended for unpaid tickets, and she could not drive between job sites. With two kids and no job or savings, she is unable to pay the debt. Because the debt has been referred to a collections agency, she is also prevented from performing community service in lieu of payment. Her previous employer would hire her if her license was reinstated, but without a job or income to pay her debt, she has no way of getting her license back.
Andrew, a 22-year-old single father, was working as a mechanic and making regular installment payments to the court on a couple of traffic tickets. A few months into the payments, his two-year-old son was diagnosed with leukemia.