Virginia DMV Sued For Suspending Licenses Of Those Who Can't Pay Fees

by
Carol Nisar
The lawsuit is accusing the state Department of Motor Vehicles in Virginia of unconstitutionally targeting poor people by taking away their licenses.

A class action lawsuit has been lobbed against the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles for the unwarranted suspension of driver’s licenses.

The Legal Aid Justice Center is suing Virginia’s DMV for allegedly suspending the licenses of those who cannot pay fines and court fees. Deemed “unconstitutional,” the lawsuit claims those who are living below the poverty level are being inappropriately targeted by this DMV procedure.

According to the lawsuit, approximately 900,000 licenses have been revoked in Virginia so far on the grounds that individuals were unable to pay their fines. Six Virginia court systems have been accused of allowing this activity to persist.

Presently, the Virginia state system does not allow those with traffic fines and associated court fees to pay back what they owe on a payment plan; their licenses are simply revoked instead.

The Legal Aid Justice Center is demanding that the license suspension plan be ruled as unconstitutional, that this practice is stopped until replaced by a different system, and that the plaintiffs’ licenses are reinstated. Four plaintiffs are named specifically in the suit.

The lawsuit further claims that while nearly a million people are without driver’s licenses, the majority are unable to travel to work to make the money necessary in order to pay back their fees. Moreover, most unpaid fines are compounded with a 6 percent interest rate, making it even more difficult for people to pay back the courts.

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Photo credit: Reuters

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