One of the dumbest things we do is punish the poor financially for not having money to pay fines.  That leads to a downward cycle that affects them in a bad way. It’s how it has been in Illinois forever when it comes to parking tickets.  If you get too many tickets and don’t pay them you will get your driver’s license suspended.  When your license is suspended it means you can’t legally drive to work to make money.  That means of course you can’t make money to pay off these tickets or are forced to choose between important life expenses like medicine versus giving the Government your money.

Fortunately Governor Pritzker and the legislature are giving new hope to 55,000+ people.  Effective today based on a law that was passed in January, if your license is suspended for unpaid parking tickets, toll violations or other non-moving violations you are eligible to get your license back under The License To Work Act.

The State should have contacted you if you are eligible, but if they didn’t and you think you might be, you should contact them. It’s possible they don’t have up to date address information for you or made another error.

Prior to this, many drivers were filing for bankruptcy to get out of their tickets and ruining their credit.  That shouldn’t happen anymore. Best of all, you shouldn’t have to hire a lawyer to get your license back.  This isn’t a matter of judgment and you don’t need to get a restricted driving permit like before.  You should have your full privileges reinstated.

I will rag on politicians as much as anyone, but this is a great thing that was done and they deserve kudos for it.  It could probably go further, especially when it comes to child support, but it’s a great first step.

If you have any questions about this process, I highly recommend you go in to your local Secretary of State office.