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Traffic fines unfairly harm low-income people

On Behalf of | Oct 13, 2021 | Traffic Violations |

Living without a driver’s license in Florida can be extremely difficult. However, it’s the reality for a lot of people who have outstanding court debts from minor traffic infractions. Low-income people who received tickets or citations for minor traffic violations sometimes end up in a vicious cycle.

Unpaid court debts that never get paid

Since traffic fines aren’t adjusted to income, they can unfairly hurt people who don’t have the means to pay them. A parking ticket could be a minor inconvenience for a middle class person but a major setback for a low-income person. When court debts aren’t paid on time, late fees get tacked onto the bill. A low-income person who didn’t have an extra $50 the first week won’t have $100 the next week.

Suspended driver’s licenses due to unpaid court debts are a problem that disproportionately impacts low-income people. After a person’s license is suspended, a chain of events can be set in motion that creates more poverty. Unlicensed people have a harder time getting to work and earning money to pay off their court debt.

Failure to comply fines

Failure to comply fines for unpaid court debt can be for a lot of different things. However, researchers from the Wilson Center in North Carolina found that traffic violations and other misdemeanors are why people have court debt the vast majority of the time. Researchers also found that people who earn more than $50,000 per year are 46% less likely to have their driver’s license suspended.

Some people have thousands of dollars in court debt

A driver’s license suspension can be devastating for a lot of people and lead to thousands of dollars in unpaid fines. However, the initial debt may not have even been justified in the first place.


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