Home / News / Civil Rights Group Reaches Agreement With Mississippi to Reinstate Over 100,000 Driver’s Licenses Suspended for Non-Payment of Fines

Civil Rights Group Reaches Agreement With Mississippi to Reinstate Over 100,000 Driver’s Licenses Suspended for Non-Payment of Fines

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Mississippi will return some-more than 100,000 driver’s licenses that were dangling for non-payment of traffic tickets and will no longer postpone licenses for disaster to compensate fines, under an agreement that was announced currently between the SPLC, the Mississippi Department of Public Safety (DPS) and another organization.

Under the new procedures, DPS will also relinquish its $100 reinstatement fee, will forewarn these drivers that their licenses are no longer dangling and – if their licenses have lapsed given they were dangling – will indoctrinate motorists how to return them.

The new policies could have inclusive effects in Mississippi, where scarcely 95 percent of residents transport to work by car. Low-income people with dangling licenses were mostly forced to select between profitable fines or using income for food, housing and health caring – or to select between pushing with a dangling permit and losing a job.


In a state where 22 percent of the race lives in misery – the top commission in the republic – the new procedures could gangling many people from serve impoverishment.

Previously, DPS would automatically postpone a license, but asking people since they could not compensate and but giving them additional time to compensate or an choice punishment like village service.

“We praise the state of Mississippi for holding stairs to safeguard that in the future, no one will remove their permit if the only reason they unsuccessful to compensate a traffic sheet is that they simply did not have adequate money,” pronounced Sam Brooke, SPLC emissary authorised director. “We also acquire Mississippi’s decision to return licenses that had been formerly dangling given people were incompetent to pay.

“Poverty is not a traffic crime,” Brooke said. “There is a flourishing recognition opposite the country that people should not face additional punishment just given of their poverty, and that includes holding divided their driver’s licenses when they can’t compensate fines.”

The agreement creates Mississippi the fifth state to need an ability-to-pay integrity before suspending a driver’s license. Other states with a “willfulness” integrity embody Louisiana, Minnesota, New Hampshire and Oklahoma, according to a new research from the Legal Aid Justice Center.

Additionally under the agreement, DPS will no longer make a government that authorizes permit cessation for non-payment but first last either the person willfully unsuccessful to pay. Drivers with mixed reasons for cessation will have suspensions for non-payment private from their pushing records, and DPS will forewarn them since their licenses sojourn suspended, as good as how to solve the suspensions.

The policy changes came about after the SPLC and the Roderick and Solange MacArthur Justice Center lifted concerns about the practices last year.

The allotment will help people like Vicki Smith of Columbia. Her permit was dangling given she could not means to compensate two traffic tickets from 2013. She was operative as an accounts payable dilettante but had to leave her pursuit when her alloy systematic her onto pregnancy bed rest shortly after the tickets were issued.

“My dangling permit done it very formidable to get on my feet again and to find a job,” pronounced Smith, whose only source of income is food stamps and her autistic son’s Social Security incapacity checks. “I recently lost my pursuit as a health help given we don’t have arguable travel and there is no mass transit. we would have paid the tickets if we could, but we can’t means it. we onslaught to compensate for my son’s medical losses and simple necessities.”

Brittney McCardle of Petal, who is impoverished and receives food stamps to support herself as good as Social Security incapacity advantages for her autistic daughter, was confronting permit cessation after she was incompetent to compensate a $155 excellent and justice costs associated to her traffic case.

“I live on a bound income and told the judge we couldn’t means to compensate for the traffic sheet by the deadline,” pronounced McCardle, who also donates blood plasma for $45 to help compensate for her vital expenses. “I was worried that we was going to remove my license, which would have done it some-more formidable for me to find a job, go to the store, or take my daughter to the hospital if she couldn’t breathe given of her bad asthma.

“I have been requesting for jobs, but many need explanation that we have a driver’s permit to get to work. Hopefully, this is something we won’t have to worry about now with the state’s new policy.”

The SPLC and the MacArthur Justice Center contend that Mississippi courts have not been following the law per collection of fines and fees, and both entities have been posterior lawsuit via Mississippi, addressing the rights of bankrupt defendants.

For example, the SPLC has filed a lawsuit against the city of Corinth and Municipal Judge John C. Ross for handling a modern-day debtors’ prison, unlawfully jailing bad people for their inability to compensate bail and fines.



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