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Yikes! Florida Can Suspend Your Driver’s License Just Because You Can’t Pay Your Debts To The Court


Everyone you know would probably balk at the idea of imposing criminal penalties on people for unpaid debts; in the popular imagination, debtors’ prisons belong to a Dickensian dystopia, which is where they belong.  Despite this, there are plenty of ways in which the law punishes people for being poor.  First, despite recent measures excluding medical debts from credit reports, there are few consumer protections that enable people who lack a high income to access inexpensive financial products.  Second, business to consumer lawsuits are becoming increasingly common, which means that creditors most aggressively pursue the borrowers who have the least amount of money that the creditors can collect.  All of this leads to a cycle of debt in American society, a cycle which is as frustrating as it is pervasive.  The worst manifestation of this is when people’s pre-existing debts act as an obstacle to employment opportunities which would enable them to increase their income.  If your debt problems are holding you back from employment opportunities, contact a Boca Raton debt lawyer.

Can an Unpaid Traffic Ticket Make You Unemployable?

When you owe money to the court, Florida law allows the court to suspend your driver’s license if you don’t pay.  The unpaid debts for which Florida can suspend your driver’s license range from traffic tickets and criminal fines and restitution to child support and money judgments in civil lawsuits.  If you don’t have a valid driver’s license, insurance companies will not insure your car.  Meanwhile, reinstating your driver’s license costs $1,500 on top of the fines you owe, and Florida offers little in the way of public transportation, so the only realistic option is to drive to work without a license and hope you don’t get caught.  Nationwide, there are 11 million unlicensed, uninsured drivers on the road on any given day, and a disproportionate number of them are in Florida.  Car insurance companies have even raised their rates in Florida because the mere act of driving in Florida puts you at an elevated risk of a collision with an uninsured vehicle.

Organizations all across the political spectrum, from the Fines and Fees Justice Center to the Vera Institute of Justice, have decried this practice as unfair.  Hindering people’s opportunity to commute to work to pay off the fines you imposed is a super villain move.  Even worse, most counties in Florida do not make it easy for people to pay court-ordered fines in installments.

How Much Can Debts Hinder Your Ability to Get a Job?

Your best hope in this situation is the Fair Credit Reporting Act, which limits the rights of current and prospective employers to see your credit report, where unpaid fines would be visible.  As for freeing up the money to reinstate your driver’s license, you should discuss your options with a lawyer about how to get rid of your other debts, so you can concentrate on paying off your debts to the court.

Work With a Debt Lawyer to Pay Off Court-Ordered Fines

A South Florida debt lawyer can help you manage your overall debt situation so that you can pay the debts you cannot settle or discharge, such as debts imposed by the court.  Contact Nowack & Olson, PLLC in Boca Raton, Florida to discuss your case.



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