If you’ve been a long-time resident of California, you’re probably
familiar with the state’s practice of suspending driver’s
licenses for unpaid
traffic fines. Well, that was all in the past. Starting July of this year, “Californians
no longer will face losing their driver’s license because of unpaid
traffic fines,” according to the
Los Angeles Times.
What prompted the change? Gov. Jerry Brown determined that suspending people’s
driver’s licenses for unpaid traffic fines did not help the State
of California collect these fines. Instead, this practice would harm low-income
individuals by sending them into a vicious cycle of job losses and even
more poverty. In Brown’s budget proposal submitted in January, Brown
said, “There does not appear to be a strong connection” between
suspending people’s driver licenses and collecting unpaid fines.
Sen. Bob Hertzberg, a Van Nuys Democrat who supported the measure said
that the policy is going to help ensure that people’s lives are
not derailed because of traffic tickets. The provision will prevent the
California Courts from suspending people’s driver licenses due to
Is the New Law Retroactive?
According to data from the Department of Motor Vehicles, in March of this
year, over 485,000 people’s driver’s licenses were suspended
because they failed to pay their traffic fines or because they missed
their court appearances. So, will those people be able to have their license
According to DMV Spokesman Artemio Armenta, “The new law will not
apply retroactively to people whose licenses already are suspended for
failing to pay fines.” Under the bill, the courts maintain the right
to suspend driver’s licenses because of
failing to appear in court – it specifically applies to suspending driver’s
licenses because of unpaid traffic fines.
“Hertzberg said the new policy is a good first step in changing state
law so it doesn’t punish people for being poor,” reported the
Do you need help with a suspended driver’s license issue in Orange
County? If so,
contact our firm to meet with a traffic violation attorney!