California court to halt license suspensions of poor drivers

Solano County Superior Court will notify traffic defendants of their right to be heard regarding their ability to pay, the coalition said, and the notices will explain their right to ask for a lower fine, a payment plan, or community service.
News Story (California)

Associated Press (AP)
August 8, 2017

Tags: Court Debt, Driver's license suspension, Traffic Tickets

Organizations mentioned/involved: Bay Area Legal Aid (San Francisco), Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area (LCCR)


The settlement resolves a lawsuit filed last year by the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California and others that claimed the court’s actions violated both the state’s vehicle code and due process protections, and essentially criminalized poverty.

“We were able to work with the court to find a system that will provide notice to people about their rights and ability to pay,” said Raegan Joern, a staff attorney at Bay Area Legal Aid, “and make it clear that people have that right.”

A representative for Solano’s superior court did not return calls seeking comment. In the settlement, the court agreed to address the coalition’s claims without agreeing the claims were true.