OAKLAND — About 54,000 drivers who live in Alameda County and had their license suspended for unpaid traffic tickets are getting some relief, and the right to drive again.
In a first for the state, Alameda County Superior Court on Monday reversed license suspensions for people who were penalized because they couldn’t afford to pay the fines. It’s the first county in the state to do so.
The court directed the Department of Motor Vehicles to lift suspensions for drivers who owe old failure to pay tickets and fines prior to June 2017. A state law, AB 103 kicked in after that making it illegal to suspend someone’s driver’s license solely because of their inability to pay. California began ramping up the practice in recent years to make up for state budget cuts and to pressure people who were delinquent into paying overdue tickets. According to advocacy groups, the license suspensions disproportionately affect poor people who simply don’t have the money.