Court Ruling: Tennessee Must Stop Revoking Driver's Licenses of People Who Can't Pay Fines

October 18, 2018

By Adam Tamburin

Tennessee can no longer revoke people's driver licenses because they cannot afford to pay traffic tickets, a federal judge said Tuesday in a landmark ruling that could affect as many as 291,000 people.

The new order, issued by U.S. District Judge Aleta Trauger, comes in a September 2017 class-action suit challenging a state law that allowed officials to revoke someone's license if they didn't pay a fine for a traffic violation.

Trauger granted the plaintiff's motion for a preliminary injunction that stops the state from doing so while the suit is pending. Her order also opened the door for hundreds of thousands of Tennesseans to get their licenses back if they cannot pay outstanding traffic fines.

The new ruling built on a July order from Trauger in a separate case that barred the state from revoking licenses based on unpaid court costs.

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