Federal judge halts drivers license suspensions caused by unpaid traffic fines

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FLINT (WJRT) (12/22/2017) - At this point, federal judge Linda Parker isn't ordering the Secretary of State to restore people's licenses that are currently suspended.

However, she ruled that moving forward there needs to be a hearing on whether a driver can pay before their license is suspended.

"I was in the wrong for each one of 'em. I admit that I was wrong," Shaneeka said about her tickets.

She was caught speeding back in September. Plus, Shaneeka didn't have proof of insurance with her, resulting in two tickets. She's been making payments ever since to pay off both of them.

"They told me when I came last time, if you don't pay we can take your license," she said.

Shaneeka said that would mean she can't take her girls to school or run any errands.

"Everybody's situation is different and the thing about it is, in this town, in this city, people are going through financial hardships and I can vouch to that," she said.

Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton said over 500 misdemeanors are given out each year and he knows there are a lot of people in Shaneeka's position.

"If you can't drive legally that means you probably can't get to work, if you're fortunate enough to have a job," he said. "That can impact you individually. That impacts your family, impacts your children."

So Leyton agreed with the judge's order and the idea of holding a hearing. He said the driver and a judge could come up with an alternative to paying the fine.

"Clean up the community, do some charitable type of work, there's a lot of alternatives, if you will, to paying a fine," Leyton said. "And, I think that's what the judge wants the Secretary of State to look at."

A spokesman for the Secretary of State's Office said they're reviewing the order and they could appeal the ruling.

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