MINNESOTA LAW HOPES TO REDUCE SuspensionS
Proposed Law Aims to Reduce Minnesota License Suspension Numbers
A new bill that aims to end driver’s license suspension penalties for certain offenses and return licenses to those already suspended for those offenses was recently approved by the House Transportation Committee of the Minnesota Legislature.
Suspending a driver’s license for failing to pay traffic tickets or other court fines has become a serious problem for many lower-income Minnesotans, leading to debt, job loss for those who must drive for employment and a continual ‘revolving door’ thorough the criminal justice system for those who continue to drive without a valid license as a result.
The aim of the bill is to reduce license suspensions and allow drivers to continue to get to work to support their families safely without violating the law and by ending the violation-unpaid fine-suspension cycle.The bill, HF336, would end suspensions for:
- failure to pay fines or surcharges stemming from traffic or parking violations;
- failure to appear in court for petty misdemeanor citations or driving after suspension or revocation violations;
- convictions for driving after suspension or revocation; and
- violations that would lead to a suspension due to a prior driving after suspension or revocation conviction.
House research data indicates there are currently about 20,000 Minnesota drivers whose licenses have been suspended their licenses suspended for issues not related to public safety such as failure to pay a fine or missing a court appearance.
Of the 15,000 misdemeanor cases prosecuted annually in Minneapolis, between 400 to 1,000 are for driving after suspension.
With bipartisan support and advocates that include the Minnesota County Attorneys Association, the Minnesota State Bar Association and the Minnesota Board of Public Defense, the bill was approved 17-0. It will now proceed to the House Public Safety and Criminal Justice Reform Finance and Policy Committee. Due to an estimated loss of revenue of approximately $500,000 each year, the bill may end up in the House Ways and Means Committee, where the budget targets are expected to be determined later in the legislative session.
If you find yourself facing DWI or OWI charges or are charged with driving after suspension, revocation, or cancellation and need to explore your options for getting your driving privileges restored, our seasoned lawyers can help. Attorneys are available 24-7 — Call us at 612-334-3342.
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