On December 31, 2020, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed an amended version of the Driver’s License Suspension Reform Act (DLSRA), ending the practice of suspending the driver’s licenses of individuals who cannot afford to pay a traffic fine. Instead, those drivers can opt for a payment plan at two percent of their monthly income or $25 per month, whichever is greater.
When it comes to individuals who have their license suspended for missing court hearings, the law will provide them with a chance to enter a payment plan—without paying reinstatement fees—and regain their license. Additionally, individuals will receive two notices before their driver’s license is suspended.
The law will allow hundreds of thousands of New York residents to regain their driving privileges and a consistent form of transportation to commute to work, attend classes, make important appoints, and run household errands. New York joins nine other states (e.g., California, Hawaii, Idaho, Maryland, Mississippi, Montana, Oregon, Virginia, and West Virginia) and Washington D.C. that have passed similar legislation in recent years.
The State of New York issued almost 1.7 million driver’s license suspensions due to failure to pay traffic fines and failure to appear in traffic court. Those who cannot afford to pay their fines may sometimes risk driving with a suspended license, which can result in an arrest and more penalties such as fines and even jail time.
Lawmakers said driver’s license suspensions based on non-payment are a counterproductive and cruel collection practice that results in continuous punishment and poverty that can be difficult to escape. The Racial Justice Project found that Black and Latinx New Yorkers are “disproportionately stopped, ticketed, arrested, charged, and convicted of traffic violations and driving on a suspended license.”
If you have recently committed a traffic violation in New York or your driver’s license has been suspended, contact Martin A. Kron & Associates, P.C. today at (212) 235-1525 to let a former New York Traffic Judge fight for you! More than 30 years of traffic court experience.