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End States’ Suspensions of Drivers’ Licenses Without Notice or Reasonable Cause

WHEREAS, it is little known fact that hundreds of thousands, and perhaps millions, of individuals drive with a suspended license without any knowledge of its suspension; and 

WHEREAS, some licenses are suspended without the individual's knowledge because notice is mailed to the address on their license, which is often outdated; and 

WHEREAS, drivers under 18 can have their licenses suspended for sexting, tobacco and alcohol possession, vandalism, graffiti, or other non-violent offenses. They can get pulled over on a suspended driver's license, arrested and taken to jail, making a suspended license their first entry into the criminal justice system; and 

WHEREAS, in some states such as Florida, if an individual is cited multiple times for driving on a suspended license within a certain time frame, their license gets suspended for term of years, even if the tickets get paid; and 

WHEREAS, in some states such as Florida, if an individual fails to make child support payment(s), the State can suspend a license automatically; and 

WHEREAS, in some states such as Wisconsin, failing to pay a traffic ticket can result in a 12-month license suspension; and 

WHEREAS, under the law of some states such as Virginia, when an individual does not immediately pay a court-imposed fine, the court suspends the individual's driver's license; and 

WHEREAS, in some states such as Virginia, millions of people have a suspended license due to unpaid court debt; and 

WHEREAS, a driver's license enables an individual to work. Moreover, jobs such as construction, manufacturing, security, electricians, and plumbers, require a drivers' license. Consequently, suspending the individual's driver's license is unproductive towards getting the individual to pay for any fines or fees; and 

WHEREAS, the U.S. Supreme Court has affirmed that the Constitution prohibits punishing a person because of his or her poverty, and suspending a person's driver's license when they are unable to pay does just that; and 

WHEREAS, on November 7, 2016, the U.S. Department of Justice declared that suspending a driver's license is unconstitutional if it is done without due process and without assessing whether the individual's failure to pay was willful or the result of inability to pay; and 

WHEREAS, since drivers' licenses are used as identification for voting, it should be a matter of great concern that states could turn away voters at the polls because their driver's licenses were suspended, even if such suspension occurred without notice to the license holder.  

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the NAACP will support, encourage or undertake litigation to prohibit states from suspending drivers' licenses without due process; and  

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that the NAACP will support, encourage or undertake litigation against laws that allow the suspension of drivers' licenses for offenses unrelated to driving.  

Derrick Lewis - Youth & College Hero

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