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Suspended drivers may be able to get back behind wheel


Last updated 6/8/2021 at 12:51pm

OLYMPIA – Drivers whose licenses were suspended because they didn't pay traffic fines may be able to get back on the road by June 16.

A Thurston County Superior Court Judge has ruled that it’s unconstitutional to suspend a drivers license for failure to pay fines or appear in court.

The ruling stems from a lawsuit in which the American Civil Liberties Union sued the state Department of Licensing, arguing the constitutionality of a state law.

The state is not planning to appeal the decision.

The decision is a stop-gap measure that will allow motorists to get back behind the wheel now.

On Jan. 1, 2023, Senate Bill 5226 goes into effect.

That law prevents the state from suspending the licenses of motorists who can’t afford to pay tickets as long as they show up for court hearings.

Those who don't show up will still face fines and suspensions.

Previously, motorists who didn’t pay fines or show up in court could have licenses suspended, and driving with a suspended license was a misdemeanor criminal offense.


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