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Personal Narrative: Lance Hartzog

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.

Personal Narrative: Joseph Fisher

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.

Fowler v. Benson

Plaintiffs allege that the Michigan Department of State’s automatic suspension of driver’s license of persons who owe court fines and fees, regardless of their ability to pay violates due process and equal protection.

Personal Narrative: Nichole Norris

Nichole Norris, a rural California resident, received four tickets during a single traffic stop, costing her $4000. When she could not afford to pay this total amount, her license was suspended. This court debt was such a burden that it prevented her from paying her electric bill, causing her utilities to be shut off and her landlord to evict her.

Johnson, et al. v. Jessup

Plaintiffs allege that the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles automatically revokes the drivers’ licenses of people who do not pay their traffic tickets in full within forty days.

Personal Narrative: Jason Smith

Jason Smith’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.
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