Florida Senator Tries to Limit Non-Driving-Related Reasons for State to Take Away Your Drivers License


Florida State Sen. Jeff Brandes of District 22 has offered a very helpful bill to ease the problem—a problem reported about by me here at Reason back in February 2014 for Florida specifically, and in December 2014 nationally—of less well-to-do citizens losing their ability to drive (and thus often to work with any sort of convenience without breaking the law) over offenses that have nothing to do with their demonstrated ability to safely manage a motor vehicle.

Key part of the bill, (SB 7046):

Notwithstanding any other law, a person's driver 534 license may not be suspended solely for failure to pay a penalty 535 or court obligation if the person demonstrates to the court, 536 after receiving the penalty and prior to the suspension taking 537 place, that he or she is unable to pay the penalty or court 538 obligation. A person is considered unable to pay if the person 539 provides documentation to the appropriate clerk of court 540 evidencing that: 541 (a)?The person receives reemployment assistance or 542 unemployment compensation pursuant to chapter 443; 543 (b)?The person is disabled and incapable of self-support or 544 receives benefits under the federal Supplemental Security Income 545 program or Social Security Disability Insurance program; 546 (c)?The person receives temporary cash assistance pursuant 547 to chapter 414; 548 (d)?The person is making payments in accordance with a 549 confirmed bankruptcy plan under chapter 11, chapter 12, or 550 chapter 13 of the United States Bankruptcy Code, 11 U.S.C. ss. 551 101 et seq.; 552 (e)?The person has been placed on a payment plan or payment 553 plans with the clerk of court which in total exceed what is 554 determined to be a reasonable payment plan pursuant to s. 555 28.246(4); or 556 (f)?The person has been determined to be indigent after 557 filing an application with the clerk in accordance with s. 27.52 558 or s. 57.082. It's a start, though frankly even with those restrictions many people will doubtless be unjustly forced into penury or inability to work by silly license suspensions, given the paperwork hurdles inherent in all the above. Still, it's a start, as are the slight limitations from one year to 6-month suspension for certain drug related crimes. (Which should, justly, have zero effect on one's being licensed to drive, but…baby steps, I suppose.)

Some other details of the bill, from Brandes' office press release:

 "This legislation will help thousands of Floridians who are caught in a relentless cycle of debt within the legal system. This bill will reduce a major burden on our courts from license suspensions, and it will give many Floridians a means to get back to work."

…The bill establishes an alternative system for sanctions for the more than 1.2 million driver license suspensions annually.

SPB 7046 removes suspension and revocation penalties for certain non-driving-related offenses. Individuals who would have their licenses suspended today for many financial related issues will instead be issued a hardship license. The reform package also reforms a controversial surcharge in law for fines or fees which are sent to collections, and clearly establishes the right of a defendant in financial hardship to enter into community service as an alternative method of payment. Finally, the bill eliminates the felony criminal charge for a third or subsequent driving while license is suspended or revoked resulting from a defendant's inability to pay a fine or fee.

Fox13News out of Tampa with a report on the bill, and three stories of people's livelihoods unjustly screwed up by casual license suspension. Florida suspended 578,000 licenses last year just over unpaid fees.

NEXT: Obama Wants Funds to Fight Zika, Candidates Prep for Primary, Canada Ends Airstrikes Against ISIS: P.M. Links

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Florida suspended 578,000 licenses last year just over unpaid fees.

    That probably represents every legal driver in the state.

    1. Ha, we have more CCW licenses than that. You underestimate our numbers at your peril.

      1. yeah but half your population is dedicated to python patrol

      2. Of course you have more CCW licenses than that. Every Floridian is born with one of those… like an SSN card.

        1. I wish. Mine is up for renewal this year. Damn beuracracbeuracracy.

          1. I call ’em burrocrats.

        2. Paul, I’m pretty sure that WA has one of the highest percentages (not total number) of CCW holders by population in the nation (something like 5% of WA residents have a CCW). More than Florida, or at least a few years ago it was.

          1. *scratches Florida off my list*

          2. Washington is just ahead of Florida by percentage of concealed carry permit holders, at 8.49% to Florida’s 8.23%. This places Washington and Florida at number 8 and 9, respectively. Florida is number 1 in total number of permit holders though, followed by Pennsylvania.


            1. You NutraSweeted the link. I’m curious which states are 1 through 7.

              1. Damn. Unfortunately, the total numbers are arranged alphabetically by state name, so it is a little hard to parse. Reason doesn’t like something in the encoding for the url, but if you Google “percentage of concealed carry permits by state crimeresearch.org” the PDF should be the first result if you care to look through.

            2. Indiana in at #3 with 11.62%. Go Hoosiers.

  2. “If you can’t pay the fine, don’t do the crime.”


    1. Hey, Joe Sample looks just like a clean-shaven Scott Shackford.

  3. This almost as Awesome and something else…can you guess what?


    1. This is why you will never lose your tertiary commenter status.

      1. Maybe CJ maybe, but with a SuperBowl victory.

    2. They really needed to, after the epic beatdown massacre they suffered at the hands of the Seahawks in 2013.

      1. Yeah, that was pretty embarrassing. And to be honest, Peyton didn’t look any less pathetic in that one, than he did in this one. The defense and Cam saved him this time.

      2. What on earth are you talking about? Everyone knows they canceled the 2013 SuperBowl. It was all over the news.

  4. Using suspension of licenses as a weapon and as a cash cow is widespread and covers a lot of areas. And the things they will suspend licenses over is absurd. I had a coworker almost ten years ago in CT whose daughter was 20 and she was caught walking on the side of the road with a beer in her hand. For getting caught underage, not even while driving, her fucking license was suspended for six months. She had a job. And school. And her license was suspended for possessing a beer in a way that had absolutely nothing to do with driving. And it really made her life fucking difficult. For walking on the side of the road with a beer while a few months underage.

    It’s all a scam and a way to fleece people. Anything they can get away with that can be used to take away people’s licenses and force them into “rehabilitation” classes that they must take (with the company running the classes always owned by a crony, of course); or if they just get caught driving without a license, that’s more fines and fees; and so on.

    We do not have a justice system. We have a fleecing mill, and god forbid you let it get its fangs into you.

    1. And you people make fun of Canada.

      1. I have been in that system, and it is pretty damn brutal.

        1. Meh, I don’t know about that site, not sure if legit.

          1. The Rebel is pretty legit to the extent it was founded by Ezra Levant.

            And I’m not surprised by it one bit. The Liberals are taking useful idiocy to dizzying heights.

            1. Ezra Levant? If that’s not a Jewish name, I’m … well, never mind, I don’t know who he is.

              It wouldn’t surprise me, nothing surprises me anymore from the left, no matter how stupid. In fact, when they do anything that isn’t derptastically fucking insane these days, it surprises me.

              1. He’s one of those right-wing journalists the left hates and has been investigated by the Human Rights Commission.

                He’s along the lines of Mark Steyn – only not as good a writer.

                1. I see. First time I’ve even seen his site.

        2. I can’t decide who is more intent on destroying the greatest culture that has ever existed: Jihadists or progressives. It is a toss-up I think.

          1. Progressives hands down. Jihadists don’t vote in our elections.

            1. Not many of them, and not yet, anyway. But Obama is working on it….

      2. And you people make fun of Canada

        I’m pretty sure that no matter how derptastic we become, Canada will figure out a way to be even more derptastic.

        1. but they’ll do it politely…

  5. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Motor_Car_Act_1903

    A Royal Commission on Motorcars was established in 1905 which reported in 1907 and recommended that motorcars should be taxed, that the speed limit should be abolished (by a majority vote only) and raised concern about the manner in which speed traps were being used to raise revenue in rural areas rather than being used to protect lives in towns

  6. Don’t worry. Once the miricle of mandatory self driving cars arrives, the state will stop doing this kind of stuff. I mean the state would never just remotely shut down you self driving car because you ran afoul of them. Right?

    1. Once the miracle of self driving cars arrives, we won’t have anything even resembling human rights left, so it will be a moot point. People will just disappear when they’ve run afoul of the almighty state. They’ll be on those giant hamster wheels that power the refueling stations for the all green driverless car fleet.

      1. At least we’ll be able to smoke weed while having ass-sex with a Mexican in one of those cars, right?

        1. Smoke weed and have an abortion. What more do you need? And don’t forget, when you smoke more weed than the state approves of, it’s mandatory rehab at your own expense, for your own good of course, and for the children.

        2. Only if you’re of the civil servant class.

      2. And Ron Bailey loves the idea. It’s like he saw the Movie Brazil and thought it was a Utopian fantasy flick.

        1. Ron? What are you basing this on?

        2. There are no self-driving cars in Brazil.

          I find it intriguing how terrified you are of self-driving cars. I mean, I get wondering how the state will try and find ways to keep its theft revenue stream going when they can’t bust people for speeding/DUI/other moving violations, but you seem extra frightened of driverless cars.

          1. They’ll just create a law to make everything that applied to driving, apply to ‘being in’ a self driving car. The state is not going to willingly give up one single subatomic particle of power over people. Not only that, but they’re going to persist in coming up with new ways until nothing you do cannot be determined a crime against the state. I’m not even sure if they haven’t already achieved that.

          2. Because they will unlike regular cars be tracked and subject to the control of the state. The state can take my liscence but I can always risk it and drive anyway. With an automous car that won’t be an option.

            Come on Epi you don’t think people on sex offender registry or under investigation for some crime by the cops should be allowed to just drive around freely do you?

            That will be the argument.

            1. That will be the argument

              Why bother, just say ‘for the children’, that works for everything.

            2. Why will they be tracked and subject to the control of the state? I fully realize that the state will *want* to do that, but there’s no reason why they will be able to.

              Remember that a primary way the government fucks us all is by picking on a despised or ignored minority (drunk drivers, smokers, underage drinkers, and many, many more) and implying that they will only go after them, and then eventually going after us all. But they don’t just go “we’re going after all of you” first. Because that would cause a real backlash. If they say “well we’re going to have total control over all your driverless cars”, that sort of affects everyone.

              Note how proposals to put breathalyzer interruptors (you blow over .08 and the car won’t start, period) in ALL cars went over. Like a lead balloon. So you need to think about that when you get all worried about self-driving cars.


              1. That is exactly how they will work. You are delusional if you think they won’t be networked together.

  7. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Driver‘s_license

    Seems Mencken’s beloved Imperial Germany was a major influence…

    Prussia, then one region of the German Empire, introduced compulsory licensing on September 29, 1903. A test on mechanical aptitude had to be passed and the Dampfkessel?berwachungsverein (“steam boiler supervision association”) was charged with conducting these tests.[1] In 1910, the German imperial government mandated the licensing of drivers on a national scale, establishing a system of tests and driver’s education requirements that was adopted in other countries.

    1. And one more thing we can blame on New Jersey:

      On August 1, 1910, North America’s first licensing law for motor vehicles went into effect in the US state of New York, though it initially applied only to professional chauffeurs.[6] In July 1913, the state of New Jersey became the first to require all drivers to pass a mandatory examination before receiving a license.

      1. I blame everything on NJ, it’s easier that way.

        1. Well it is named after a slave-owner’s home.

          1. They also gave us Chris Christie. That can never ever be forgiven.

            1. Um Woodrow Wilson?

  8. You don’t pay your child support, you not only lose your driver’s license, you lose your business license. Nothing says “punitive” like taking away the means to make money from somebody who owes money.

    1. I have said this before, but when I was on probation they made us pay a $30 monthly fine, just because. That started out as being just for dui probationers, but then it became all probationers. That is a lot of money.

      I also had to pay a yearly fee of $250 (for three years), to keep my drivers license, which I think they called a “safe driver” fee, or something like that. So, I was out $600 a year just so I could get to work.

      1. They were just secretly trying to create more libertarians. Congratulations to them, I would give them $600 of Crusty’s money again to stop Crusty from becoming just another statist asshat.

        1. It was a lot more than that, but I do not need to depress myself with exact figures.

      2. Most of two bucks a day from thousands of people. That’s a chunk of change.

  9. Have they ran the story here yet about the MD legislator who wants to introduce a bill on drug law reform? It’s not of course, a libertarian thing, but it would decriminalize small amounts of all drugs. It sounds sort of similar to what Portugal has done, but I wouldn’t trust anything to the Maryland democrats, they will make it worse somehow or other. Also, even if they could pass it, Hogan would probably veto it, because Stupid Party, it’s what they do.

    I can probably find a link, but I figure it’s maybe already made the rounds here.

    1. Here is a “friendly” link.

    2. http://www.wbaltv.com/politics…..s/37844112

      Government shooting galleries

      1. I don’t know whether I should gently reprimand you for posting a link with auto-play without a warning, or call you a dick.

        1. And in true commentariat style, Sarc goes with, “Why not both?”

        2. Your fault for opening a tab w scripts enabled. It was just a text news story for me.

  10. I picked up a hitchhiker this summer who was caught in the machine. He lost his license over being unable to pay some fine, and that triggered an avalanche of fees and fines and interest that were accumulating faster than he could pay them off. As far as he was concerned, that speeding ticket (or whatever it was) cost him his license for life. It was pretty sad.

    1. And no one seems to fucking care.

      1. It could never happen to them.

        1. Most people are selfish pricks who are incapable of putting themselves in another’s shoes. Until a situation effects them or someone very close to them, they couldn’t give a flying fuck.

      2. I know. That makes it even sadder.

        1. I hope you took the opportunity to teach him the fundamentals of libertarianism and why he should vote accordingly. Seriously, you have that libertarian propaganda under your seat and ready to go, right?

          1. I taught him the fundamentals of what I learned when David Ramsey (I’m on more of a nine year plan than a nine week plan, but in principle what he says is true) was on the air several years ago. He seemed receptive. Or just happy to get a ride.

  11. I realize most people can’t just up and git, but if you lose your license in FL, couldn’t you go to a neighboring state, establish a phony-baloney address, and apply for your license there?
    Or just move away from FL completely?

  12. Great plan. These people can’t pay child support or a traffic ticket, and we think they pay for their insurance? All we need are more irresponsible drivers on the road.

  13. The technology is so developed that we can watch videos, live streaming, TV serials and any of our missed programs within our mobiles and PCs. Showbox
    All we need is a mobile or PC with a very good internet connection. There are many applications by which we can enjoy videos, our missed programs, live streaming etc.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.