1-Hour Program

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Over the past five years, at least 15 states and Washington D.C. have passed legislation to limit or end the predatory practice of suspending a driver's license for traffic debt. With the Driver's License Suspension Reform Act, New York became the 11th state to enact such legislation, but while New York sought to be a model for driver's license reform, a last-minute compromise has meant lessons learned and continued advocacy.  Please join two New York State practitioners (and members of the DLSRA steering committee) and a national expert on fines and fees reform for an overview of the movement to end the cruel and counterproductive practice of debt based driver's license suspensions and a discussion of where the law is heading. The discussion will include New York's new law; driver's license legislation across the country; understanding suspensions for failure to pay and failure to answer/appear and common challenges to fully addressing the harms of license suspensions; and what you need to know about your state's suspension practices.

What you will learn:

  • Overview of driver’s license suspension laws and their disproportionate impact on poor and low-income people, in particular people of color (10 minutes)
  • Reform efforts around the country (10 minutes)
  • New York Driver’s License Suspension Reform Act: Where it is now and improvements sought (5 minutes)
    • What practitioners, including legal aid attorneys, defense attorneys, prosecutors, and advocates need to know about the New York law (10 minutes)
    • Understanding suspensions for failure to pay and failure to answer/appear (5 minutes)
    • Common challenges to fully addressing the harms of license suspensions (10 minutes)
  • What to know about your state’s suspension practices (10 minutes)




Ranit Patel, Equal Justice Works Fellow, Criminal Defense Practice & Policy, The Bronx Defenders

Claudia Wilner, Director of Litigation and Advocacy, National Center for Law and Economic Justice (NCLEJ)

Joanna Weiss, Co-Director, Fines and Fees Justice Center





Credit Details

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