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  • Writer's pictureEzra N. Goldman

An end to "driving while poor" in Michigan?

When you get a traffic ticket, you get a fine and you have to pay it by a certain date. If you don't pay it, they suspend your drivers license. And then, if you get a ticket driving while suspended, they suspend you more and you could go to jail. I have seen many judges give people 30+ days in jail for driving while suspended. After all, it is an intentional violation of the law. But...

What if someone can't pay? What if the ticket was for a seatbelt violation and the options were paying rent or paying that ticket? It has always been unfair to the poor. In a landmark decision a Federal Court last week ordered Michigan to stop this. They can no longer suspend someone who can't pay! You can read the case here:

We will, of course, have to see how this plays out... how will the courts tell the difference between someone who flagrantly violates the law and doesn't feel like paying and someone who actually can't pay? Stay tuned!


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