Tickets Keeping Detroiters in Poverty

Michigan suspends approximately 100,000 driver’s licenses every year when drivers can't afford to pay tickets and fines.
July 8, 2017, 5am PDT | Casey Brazeal | @northandclark
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Don Blais

When they lead to suspended licenses, minor infractions like speeding tickets as well as parking and traffic tickets can trap the poor in their homes. Niraj Warikoo shares the story of one Detroit resident, Adrian Fowler. When Fowler's daughter got a 103-degree fever, Fowler felt she had to drive to get her infant to the hospital. When the police stopped her on the way there, they let her continue driving but not without issuing her $600 in fines for speeding and driving with a suspended license. Fowler feels that, by suspending her license and keeping her out of her car, the state's policies are denying her, and many others like her, the work she needs to support her family.

Now the Equal Justice Under Law in Washington, D.C. and the Sugar Law Center in Detroit have filed lawsuit that "accuses the Michigan Department of State of 'running a wealth-based driver’s license suspension scheme that traps some of the state’s poorest residents in a cycle of poverty.'"

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Published on Wednesday, May 24, 2017 in The Detroit Free Press
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