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California can no longer suspend a license for overdue fines

Losing your driver’s license is difficult. Suddenly, you wonder how you will get to work, run errands or getaway to the cabin for the weekend. Our driver’s licenses provide us the freedom and independence to transport ourselves without reliance on others like teenagers begging their parents for a ride to the mall.

Until March 2018, the California Department of Motor Vehicles could suspend your license for overdue fees. Drivers with suspended licenses at that time could drive legally again with a valid license. Drivers whose licenses had been suspended for outstanding fines could again reapply for their licenses in March of that year. This change did not affect drivers who had their license suspended for offenses like DUI.

How this legislation benefits you

By no longer suspended licenses for overdue fees, California has made it easier for you to pay your fines. If you don’t have a license and therefore cannot work, how are you supposed to pay your fines? Additionally, there are fees to reinstate a driver’s license. If you are having a hard time paying your traffic fines, how are you supposed to afford reinstating your license if you can’t get to work? This lessens the burden on license holders like you and likely increases the chances for the state to receive its money.

The previous law also unfairly punished people who simply forgot to make their payments and had to endure the hassle of getting their driving privileges back.

California likely intended for the old law to incentivize you to pay your traffic fines but wound up punishing you by making it more difficult to pay your fines. While the new law is fairer, you should still pay your traffic fines as soon as you can.

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