SAFE-T Act Removes the Failure to Pay as a Basis for Rescinding Driver’s Licenses

Historic bill HB3653 makes many changes to Illinois law in an effort to remove what some consider to be unfair aspects of the Illinois Statutes. Proponents of the legislation believe that the historic act both increases the safety of Illinoisans and helps to maintain a robust and fair justice system. Several provisions in the new legislation were meant to reduce the degree to which the Illinois statutes punish the less wealthy while allowing wealthy offenders to get off relatively scot-free. The removal of cash bail is one of the most discussed aspects of this legislation, but other provisions are written into the SAFE-T Act that were intended to create a fairer criminal justice system.

As an example of those reforms, the SAFE-T Act removes failure to pay as the basis for revoking, rescinding, or otherwise withdrawing driver’s licenses. The possibility of having a driver’s license revoked had served as an incentive for those penalized with fines to make their payments in a timely manner, but in practice, some believe this aspect of Illinois law simply punished poor or struggling citizens with cascading consequences for their challenging financial situation.

Reformers have called attention to the fact that removing a citizen’s access to transportation compromises their ability to make money and only serves to further entrench poor or struggling citizens in a metaphorical pit from which escape only gets increasingly difficult. Meanwhile, wealthy citizens can pay their fines without financial concern.

Which Traffic Violations are Affected Under the New Legislation?

Under the new language, all traffic violations are affected, including automated traffic enforcement system violations. The new law seeks to make sure that minor offenses which result in fines do not snowball into outsized consequences for the violator should they be experiencing financial difficulties and be unable to pay in a timely manner. These efforts are directed toward creating a criminal justice system that is guided by justice and equality.

Under the new law, failure to pay cannot result in suspension, cancellation, or prohibition of renewal of a person’s driver’s license. If a person has had their driver’s license suspended, revoked, or canceled prior to July 1, 2021, these suspensions, revocations, or cancellations shall be rescinded after the listed date.

Contact an Experienced Lawyer Today

Glasgow & Olsson is uniquely qualified to help navigate the ever-changing criminal justice system in Chicagoland. Recent changes to Illinois law likely affect your rights and trial process, so make sure to remain informed and updated. When you need an attorney, experience matters. Contact us today to learn how our experience can get you the results you deserve.

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