Close

Personal Narrative: Timothy Livingston

Timothy Livingston’s only license suspension stems from a ticket for having two broken car lights. Following the police stop, he never received anything in the mail with information regarding how to pay the ticket or the date and time of his court date. However, about nine months after he was stopped, Livingston was shocked and confused when he received a letter stating that a default judgment was entered against him, he owed the court approximately $850, and his license was suspended.

Mississippi HB 1352: The Criminal Justice Reform Act [Ends driver’s license suspension for unpaid fines and fees, failure to appear]

The bill provides that when a person fails to pay their fines and fees (whether for traffic, misdemeanor, or felony offenses), a clerk will provide written notice advising that failure to pay within the following 90 days will result in the court pursuing collection of the debt. Before this law was passed, courts suspended driver’s licenses for nonpayment.

Too Poor to Pay: How Arkansas’s Offender-Funded Justice System Drives Poverty & Mass Incarceration

This report identifies several promising issue areas for fines and fees reform in Arkansas, including nonpayment incarceration, driver’s license suspension for unpaid fines and fees, and probation fees. The authors interviewed 205 people who were charged and/or incarcerated over inability to pay fines and fees; performed court-watching in 8 counties; sent almost 300 records requests; and interviewed Arkansas criminal justice and social service stakeholders.

Personal Narrative: Chris S.

Chris S.’s driver’s license was suspended five times for failure to pay fines. He never received prior notice that his license was being suspended. He never had an opportunity to explain why it should not be suspended.

Personal Narrative: Kimberly S.

: Kimberly S. is a mother of three who battled to overcome drug addiction. She has been convicted of failure to pay 10 times in the last four years, each time incurring $450 to $670 in additional debt, and sentences of as much as 30 days in jail.

Personal Narrative: Anthony Bertrand

During the early morning of January 2, 2019, Bertrand was pulled over for his headlight and the officer informed him that his license was suspended. Bertrand had no idea that his license was suspended and later found out that it was because he had unpaid tickets from 5 to 6 years ago.
Close