Federal Judge Orders State to Stop Suspending Driver Licenses of People Unable to Pay Fines

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A federal judge in Nashville has ordered the state to stop suspending the driver's licenses of people who are unable to pay traffic fines and court costs.

In an order last week, a U.S. District judge also instructed the state to allow indigent drivers to get suspended licenses back without fees.

The lawsuit is the second of two similar cases. The earlier one dealt with people who lost licenses because they were unable to pay fines related to criminal convictions. The judge ruled against the state in July, and Tennessee appealed.

Plaintiffs argue the suspensions leave people unable to work, making it even harder for them to pay court debts.

The rulings potentially affect tens of thousands of Tennesseans and could have implications for similar policies in dozens of other states.


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