Virginia currently revokes driver licenses when people get behind on paying their court costs, fines, and fees. In the commonwealth of Virginia, one in six drivers has had their license suspended for failure to pay court fees. Overwhelmingly, these fines and fees are not paid because individuals cannot afford to do so.
Revoking licenses to enforce payment of court fines and fees is counterproductive. Because public transportation is so minimal in most of the United States, taking away driver licenses also takes away a person’s legal means to get to work and earn the money they need to pay back their fines. Many people continue to drive even after the license is revoked, leading to more fines and fees, and even additional bouts of incarceration.
The Virginia legislature is currently considering this issue through bills SB 578 and SB 1612. Both of these bills have the potential to increase court fee collection rates, as more people can drive to work and pay off their fines – making it effective. It reduces the costs associated with jailing those who drive on suspended licenses (approximately $30 million a year), as well as the costs the DMV and court systems spend processing licenses (609,550 and 2,742,975 hours per year respectively). Contact your legislator today to voice your support for these bills.