July 23, 2014 - 09:56
Unpaid fines could mean lost license
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Those who don’t pay court fines and fees could lose their driver’s license, according to a law that went into effect July 1, 2011.

Those who don’t pay court fines and fees could lose their driver’s license, according to a new law that went into effect July 1, 2011.

The law states that a license shall be revoked by the Commissioner of Safety if the licensee has not within one year paid all litigation taxes, court costs, and fines resulting from the disposition of any criminal offense. The license would remain revoked until the person provides proof that all litigation taxes, court costs and fines have been paid.

It is up to the Clerk of the Court to notify the commission when an offender has unpaid fees after a year. The notification should take place within 30 days of the end of the one-year period or as soon as practicable.

There is relief for hardship cases. The law allows a person who is unable to pay to request an order to stay the license revocation. Grounds for finding of extreme hardship are limited to travel necessary for work or serious illness of the person or immediate family member. The court may enter a one-time stay for a period of not longer than 180 days.

The fiscal note on the law estimated a increase in state revenue of more than $6 million, assuming that 25% of those with unpaid fines will pay the fines plus a $65 reinstatement fee and driver license fees. It was estimated there would be an increase in local revenue of nearly $6.5 million. These are based on average litigation taxes, costs and fines of $500 and the assumption that 25% of those reinstating would not have paid the fines in the absence of the new law. It was estimated that in 2009 there were 328,000 persons who committed a criminal offense that the law would apply to. Of those, an estimated 75% do not pay fines.

It was estimated the law would increase state expenditures by $984,500 to cover additional personnel to handle phone calls, process mail, update records, assist drivers who receive a suspension notice, and handle other related duties.

Connie Clark, Polk County Clerk of Courts, said she had heard about the new law but has not yet gotten any information about how to implement. She said she assumed there would be a form to be filled out and sent to the Department of Safety. She said the court often sets up a monthly payment plan for those with fines around $2,000 or more. Those with unpaid fines do not get off probation until the fines are paid in full, she said. She added, a lot of them don’t have a license anyway.




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