Legal aid attorneys and civil rights advocates are speaking up against the excessive punishment of taking away drivers licenses because one cannot afford to pay a ticket. Last month advocates filed a lawsuit against the Department of Motor Vehicles in an effort to put a stop to their license suspension practice. This problem is only exacerbated in larger cities, such as San Francisco or Los Angeles, where parking enforcement and street sweeping may ticket someone multiple times in a single year.
Having a driver’s license could mean the difference between having a job and not. When the DMV punishes non-payment with license suspension, they could be doing a lot more than taking away someone’s driving privileges temporarily. “No one should be forced to choose between keeping their driver’s license and putting food on the table for their family… The DMV must stop punishing people for being poor.” said Rebekah Evenson, or Bay Area Legal Aid.
Organizations mentioned/involved: Bay Area Legal Aid (BayLegal), Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area (LCCRSF), Western Center on Law & Poverty (WCLP), East Bay Community Law Center (EBCLC)