Driver’s licenses or voting rights have been suspended for millions of Americans across the country for the same thing: unpaid court fees. California has just become the first state to waive this fee for low-income individuals. This is what that means.
What are the court fees?
People who have been charged with civil offenses or criminal offenses are charged fees for things like being represented in court or as a way for the court to raise money for other programs. Upon release from prison, people often face fees of several thousand dollars.
These fines can pose a significant burden on newly released people, who do not yet have jobs, which may delay their return to society. To make matters worse, if you are unable to pay these fees, you may face penalties such as a suspended driver’s license, which can make it difficult for you to get back on your feet.
California making waves
In 2019, San Francisco made history by eliminating the practice of administrative court fees. The city too $ 32 million cleared of the amounts owed Unpaid court fees. Now, California as a whole no longer imposes court fees on low-income individuals.
In 21 states-People who have unpaid court fees after a felony conviction may have the right to vote in elections are prohibited until they have paid off this debt. This quickly became a hot topic in the debate on the 2020 presidential election, as fears and accusations of depriving voters of the right to vote abounded.
What’s happening in Florida
Billionaire, former New York City mayor and former Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg recently made headlines for spending $ 16 million to pay court fees for 32,000 convicted criminals in Florida, enabling them to vote in the upcoming election. This prompted the state attorney general to open an investigation into whether Bloomberg was violating state election laws.
Despite President Trump The action is called “criminal”. No criminal charges have been filed against Bloomberg. Regardless, administrative court fees may soon become a bigger voting issue across the country.