ACLU of Maine Calls on Legislature to End Automatic License Suspensions for Unpaid Fines

Affiliate: ACLU of Maine
January 29, 2020 10:15 am

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AUGUSTA, Maine – The ACLU of Maine today called on the legislature to permanently end the practice of automatically suspending an individual’s driver’s license because they can’t afford to pay their fines for non-driving related violations. Maine passed a similar bill in 2018 that expires next year; LD 1953, sponsored by Rep. Matt Moonen (Portland), would remove the sunset clause from the earlier legislation.

The ACLU will testify that depriving people of driver’s licenses because they cannot afford to pay court fines is a violation of Equal Protection and Due Process protections in the Constitution.

The following can be attributed to Meagan Sway, policy counsel at the ACLU of Maine:

“By taking away someone’s license when they can’t afford to pay court fines, we have created an unfair system where people with money get punished once and poor and working Mainers get punished indefinitely. Suspending a person’s driver’s license when they are too poor to pay court fines, in a rural state like Maine, means that the person cannot get to work, go to the grocery store, or take their kids to school. It also makes it infinitely harder for the person to earn the money to pay outstanding fines.”

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