Sometimes, when a person in Wisconsin commits a traffic offense, they are ordered to pay a fine. If they fail to do so, their driver’s license may be suspended. While some might think this is a reasonable measure to provide an impetus for people to pay their traffic tickets on time, it is actually causing problems, according to a report published in the Racine Journal Times.
According to that report, almost 60 percent of license suspensions in the state were issued because the motorist failed to pay a fine. In fact, a 2013 study indicated that 250,000 driver’s license suspensions were based on the non-payment of fines, compared to a total of 170,000 driver’s license suspensions issued on all other bases combined.
When a person cannot afford to pay a fine, and, thus, has their driver’s license suspended, they could risk being fired if they are unable to get to work. And, if they lose their job, they have even fewer financial resources that could be used to pay their ticket, creating a perpetual cycle of unpaid fines and unemployment that could lead to poverty.
There could be other ways the state can address unpaid traffic tickets. For example, instead of suspending a motorist’s driver’s license, they could garnish the motorist’s tax returns — a move the city of Green Bay took in 2018 after facing $830,000 in unpaid parking citations. However, in most of the state, the law currently stands that an unpaid traffic ticket could result in the loss of your license. Those who are concerned about their ability to pay their traffic tickets may want to seek professional guidance to determine if they have any other legal options.