Effective Tuesday May 7, 2019, people who currently have suspended licenses due to unpaid court debt can have their driving privileges restored, thanks to a new law.
Has your driver’s license been suspended because you are unable to pay fines/fees, court costs, or restitution? Here’s how you can get it reinstated:
- Petition the court that issued the order of suspension. If the court finds that your license was suspended because of the failure to pay fines, fees, costs, or restitution and not for another legal reason, the court must order the department of justice to reinstate your driver's license.
- You also don’t need to pay the reinstatement fee! According to new law, that fee is waived for people who have had their driver’s license suspended because they were unable to pay.
- This law is retroactive. If your driver's license was suspended prior to May 7, 2019 due to failure to comply with a sentencing order that imposed a duty to pay fines, fees, or restitution, you can get your license back.
If you have been harmed by the old law, you aren’t alone. An estimated 10,000 Montana residents have had their licenses suspended annually because of unpaid court debt. With the passage of HB 217, Montana has emerged as a national leader in ending this harmful practice.
Contact the ACLU of Montana if you:
- are unable to pay fines, fees, court costs, or restitution in the future and the court suspends your license solely for that reason,
- are given your license back, but also handed a contempt charge by the court, or
- have your license suspended based on failure to appear.