Under North Carolina law, a person who fails to appear in court to resolve a traffic ticket or fails to pay traffic or criminal court debt is subjected to an indefinite suspension of his or her driver’s license, regardless of whether it is the person’s first ticket or first time failing to resolve a ticket.
The inability to pay traffic fees and court costs and the license suspension that results can have dire consequences for drivers and their families. This is particularly true for North Carolinians who are already economically vulnerable and those who live in rural areas without reliable public transportation.
Having a suspended or revoked driver’s license can mean limited job opportunities, barriers to obtaining medical care, using expensive ride services such as Uber or Lyft to get to and from a low wage job, relying on others for rides, limited housing options, and the list goes on. Those that continue to drive without a license risk a criminal record and even incarceration.
For more information about how Driver’s License Restoration efforts are needed, view When Debt Takes the Wheel here.
Strategy for Relief:
Since 2017, the Pro Bono Resource Center has partnered with the North Carolina Justice Center on the Driver’s License Restoration Project.
The Pro Bono Resource Center was awarded a grant from the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation to build on these efforts and to create and coordinate a statewide network of driver’s license restoration mass relief debt remittance.
As part of the Driver’s License Restoration Program, advocates coordinate with district attorney partners to motion the court to remit traffic court costs and fees for people with long-term license suspensions stemming from low-level traffic offenses.
For more information or to see if you have received relief as part of the Driver’s License Restoration Project, click here.
Contact Leigh Wicclair at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you to Donn Young for providing photos from driver’s license restoration clinics.