Department of Justice Agrees License Supension Unconstitutional

After 30 days of nonpayment of court costs and/or fines, Virginia courts will notify the DMV who immediately suspend the defendant's license without any notice or investigation of their own. The Department of Justice has agreed with a lawsuit deeming this mandatory license suspension for unpaid court costs unconstitutional. Last year alone, one in six licensed drivers in Virginia had their license suspended due to unpaid court costs and/or fines for traffic and non-traffic related offense. By automatically suspending ones license for failure to make payment, the court is denying an individuals right to due process. Automatic suspensions deny individuals living in poverty the right to establish inability to pay. It also does not take into account many other situations. Some examples of the problematic nature of this policy include: those who were incapacitated during the allocated time period, those who simply did not receive notice, or simple clerical errors. At this time a hearing has not been scheduled or held nor has the court ruled in favor of either side. The Department of Justice has just agreed with the plaintiff's brief.    The full brief can be found here.