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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Joined by a bipartisan coalition and members of the House of Delegates, Governor Ralph Northam announced today that widely supported driver’s license suspension reform will be enacted. The reforms, which will end the practice of suspending the driver’s licenses of Virginians who have unpaid court fines and fees, will be implemented through the budget amendment process in the coming days.
While reasonable court fees should eventually be paid, revoking a person’s ability to drive directly harms their capacity to earn the money they need pay these fines in the first place. The announced reforms repeal Virginia’s requirement that anyone, no matter how poor, who is convicted for any offense, no matter how minor, must lose their driver’s license if they fail to pay associated fines and fees within thirty days.
“This is a great day for the nearly 1 million Virginians facing the often insurmountable barrier a suspended license creates against maintaining employment and providing for their families. This new policy ends the previous fee-based driver’s license suspension policy that trapped too many in a vicious cycle of indebtedness and incarceration,” said Jacob Fish, Coalitions Director for AFP-Virginia. “AFP was pleased to join Senator Stanley and a bipartisan coalition in support of this legislation that is going to improve the lives of hundreds of thousands of Virginians.”