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ACLU Files Lawsuit Over Traffic Ticket Procedure

An earlier report that non-white drivers in Bakersfield and Fresno lost their drivers’ licenses at a higher rate than some other groups prompted the American Civil Liberties Union to file an action in federal court.

In April, the ACLU sent letters to a number of counties threatening further action if they did not revise their drivers’ license suspension policies, and the lawsuit is the organization’s way of making good on its threat. Some officials apparently believed that the ticket amnesty provided adequate relief, but many families must still pay hundreds of dollars they do not have, even if their citations were eligible. The group may have also been emboldened by the way the California Supreme Court almost immediately changed its rules in Fresno County after the ACLU took it to task.

Rubicon Programs, a California nonprofit, joined in the suit, which demands injunctive relief and a declaratory judgment.

Drivers’ License Suspension

Roughly four million Californians are driving on suspended licenses right at this moment simply because they did not pay a traffic ticket on time or missed another court deadline. A suspended license is a ticking time bomb and a VC 14601 citation means a maximum six months in jail and often more than a $1,000 in fines. Lack of knowledge is not a defense, because there is a “conclusive presumption” that the defendant received the notice if it went to the address of record.

At best, the amnesty only reduces the amount due. But in most cases, an attorney can get a suspended license reinstated almost immediately and put the tickets back on the docket, where there is a full range of defenses available that can save motorists some serious money.

Getting Legal Help

The aggressive attorneys at Bigger & Harman, APC, are committed to giving individuals a voice when dealing with speeding and traffic tickets. Call today at 661-349-9300 or email attorney@markbigger.com to receive the personal professional attention you deserve. En español, llame al 661-349-9755.