Can My License be Suspended for Unpaid Tickets?

by | Jan 11, 2018 | Criminal Defense, Traffic Tickets | 0 comments

It was just a speeding ticket. Do you really deserve to have your license suspended?

You couldn’t afford to pay the fine, so now the state has taken away your ability to drive – and along with it your ability to make a living.

How can you possibly pay the fine now that you can’t get to work?

License Suspensions for Unpaid Tickets

It sounds crazy, but this happens to thousands of people across the country, including right here in South Carolina.

Obviously, many people are desperate and drive anyway – they must go to work, take the kids to school, and buy groceries for their families.

If they get pulled over again, they go to jail for driving under suspension (DUS) which can lead to an additional, consecutive suspension and sometimes a license revocation as a habitual traffic offender (HTO).

It’s a trap for some drivers, and it’s a situation that critics compare to debtor’s prison.

Some States are Changing the Law

Mississippi has become the latest state to stop this vicious cycle.

The state announced last month that it will no longer suspend licenses over failure to pay court fines and fees, and tens of thousands of drivers will get their licenses back. The state made the change in response to pressure from the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).

These suspensions still happen in more than 40 states, but things are starting to change thanks to lawsuits, pressure from groups like the SPLC, and a growing recognition of the unfairness of such suspensions among lawmakers.

Lawsuits in five states, including Tennessee and Virginia, are challenging the practice. Lawmakers and officials in three other states and the District of Columbia are also considering doing away with these kinds of suspensions.

South Carolina Will Suspend Your License for Unpaid Tickets

In South Carolina, your license can be suspended indefinitely for failure to pay a fine associated with a traffic ticket. There are no lawsuits pending to challenge the practice, and lawmakers are not considering any changes.

Here is the problem with this unreasonable practice: If you can’t pay, you can’t drive; if you can’t drive, you can’t work; if you can’t work, you can’t pay.

It is a terrible cycle that helps no one – families lose the ability to make money, and the state can’t collect money from people if they are not allowed to earn it.

What Can You Do?

To contest a license suspension, your SC traffic violation attorney may be able to request an administrative hearing through the S.C. Administrative Law Court.

If a bench warrant has been issued in SC for failure to pay traffic ticket fines, it may be possible to resolve the matter before you are picked up and taken to jail.

Do not allow your unpaid traffic tickets to become a bench warrant that will land you in jail or a license suspension that will prevent you from driving to work.

SC Traffic Violation Attorneys in Myrtle Beach

If your license has been suspended or a bench warrant has been issued for failure to pay fines in SC, if you have been charged with driving under suspension (DUS) in SC, or if you have been declared a habitual traffic offender (HTO) in SC, call a Myrtle Beach traffic lawyer at Coastal Law, LLC, today at (843) 488-5000 to set up a free consultation or complete our online form.

 

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