Tell your state lawmakers to support a budget amendment that would stop wealth-based driver’s license suspension in Virginia

TAKE ACTION NOW

No one should be stripped of the ability to support themselves and their families, simply because they can’t afford to pay their court fines and fees. Yet, every day in Virginia, people are having their driver’s licenses taken away for reasons unrelated to driving.

Driving, just like any other basic need, is crucial to securing and maintaining employment, driving children to school, supporting your family, and taking care of yourself. Without a driver’s license, people face an impossible dilemma: to obey the suspension and lose the ability to get to work, or to drive anyway and risk additional fines and even jail time.

Virginia’s driver’s license suspension for failure to pay court debts criminalizes poverty and traps people in a vicious cycle of poverty, debt, and incarceration. People of color are particularly at risk of debt-based suspension and incarceration for driving under a suspended license, because of systemic inequalities and the over-policing of communities of color.

Now, we have a chance to change this, and we need your help.

Please take action now and urge your state lawmakers to support Item 3-6.03, a budget amendment proposed by Gov. Ralph Northam that would end wealth-based driver’s license suspension in Virginia and restore driving privileges for more than 627,000 Virginians.

Message Recipients:
Your State Senator
Your State House Representative

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Your Message

Virginia’s driver’s license suspension law for failure to pay court debts is counter-productive, unfair, and unjust. For years, it has trapped Virginians with low income and Virginians of color in vicious and often inescapable cycles of poverty and entanglement with the criminal justice system.

Now, we have a momentous opportunity to change this, as Gov. Ralph Northam announced a proposed a budget amendment that would essentially enact Sen. Bill Stanley’s SB1013, which would have repealed the court debt-related driver’s license suspension law in Virginia.

It’s time we stop criminalizing poverty and repeal an ineffective law that disproportionately affects lower-income drivers and does nothing to improve road safety.

I urge you to support Item 3-6.03, the budget amendment that would end wealth-based driver’s license suspension in Virginia and restore driving privileges for more than 627,000 Virginians.

Sincerely,

[First Name] [Last Name]
[Your Address]

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