Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Driving on a Suspended License Scam

The government considers driving to be a privilege which they can revoke at any time. For many offenses, both criminal and civil, a person's drivers license will be suspended as a part of the punishment – even before conviction. For instance, a person accused of drunk driving, who has a warrant out for their arrest, or who owes back taxes can have their driving privileges suspended until the matter if cleared.

In essence, this forces a person to go without the use of their vehicle until they've satisfied the state that they are innocent. The punishment of not being able to drive is imposed even without proof of guilt. This throws "innocent until proven guilty" on its ear.

A person who is caught driving on a suspended/revoked license is, in most states, guilty of a misdemeanor crime. That is punishable by fine, jail, and often the vehicle will be confiscated until the matter is resolved – resulting in even more fines to get the vehicle out of lockup.

Fines and possible jail time vary by state, but most are in the $500-$1,000 range and/or up to six months in jail. Often, if convicted, the person's license will be suspended for an even longer period as well.

All for not paying a parking ticket, being accused of (but not convicted of) a DUI, or any of a number of crimes and infractions that are often not required to be proven for the license to be revoked.

The government says that, even though you are required to purchase your own vehicle, pay taxes to maintain roads, and pay further taxes to register your vehicle, your ability to drive that vehicle on the roads you've paid for is subject to their discretion and can be suspended or denied at any time.

Is that justice?

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