Protecting the Rights of Drivers Who Are Poor

Many states in the U.S. suspend the driver’s licenses of people with safe driving records simply because they are too poor to pay their traffic tickets or court costs.

Such wealth-based schemes not only trap our most vulnerable citizens in a vicious cycle of poverty, but they make no sense. Unable to drive, people often lose their jobs or have a hard time finding employment, making it even more unlikely that they will be able to pay their debts to the state. Furthermore, residents with suspended licenses cannot fulfill daily responsibilities: taking their children to school, caring for elderly family members, or going to the doctor’s office.Drivers Licence Impact

Losing a driver’s license is an extraordinary punishment that goes far beyond a fine. It is an attack on a person’s independence, pride, and character. As a nation, we encourage our citizens to be self-sufficient. To take away someone’s ability to drive simply because they are too poor to pay a fine is unfair, unjust, and un-American.

Equal Justice Under Law is on the forefront of the movement to end this discriminatory practice and restore driving rights to thousands of Americans living in poverty. We currently have class action lawsuits pending in Michigan and Montana.

To read about these individual cases, please click on the images below.




Selected Press
(for more press please see individual case pages above or contact

“Millions of Drivers Lost Licenses for Failing to Pay Court Fees, study finds” by Justin Moyer for The Washington Post on September 26, 2017

“Study: 100K Michigan Drivers Lose Licenses for Unpaid Fees” by Mike Martindale for The Detroit News on September 26, 2017

“Old Fines Strand Drivers, Crimp Region’s Workforce” by Chad Livengood for Crain’s Detroit Business on August 6, 2017

“Driver’s License Suspensions Hurt the Poor in Michigan” by Niraj Warikoo for the the Detroit Free Press on May 24, 2017

“Are We Punishing the Poor Hard Enough?” by Dan Brooks for Missoula Independent on September 14, 2017

“Too Poor to Drive?” Op-Ed by Phil Telfeyan for The Crime Report on June 7, 2017

“The State Making Money Off Poorest Drivers” by Kate Briquelet for The Daily Beast on March 8, 2017


To help us protect the rights of the poor, please support our work HERE.