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Activists Push for Pennsylvania to Stop Suspending Licenses for Non-Driving Offenses

In recent months, activists and those in the legal community have pushed Pennsylvania lawmakers to create legislation that would stop the suspension of licenses for individuals charged with offenses unrelated to driving.

Currently mandatory license revocation applies to serious non-driving offenses such as drug crimes and failure to pay child support, but it can also be used as a punishment for crimes such as using a fake ID or drinking alcohol and using tobacco while underage. Pennsylvania suspends a person’s license for six months or more for every count on which he or she is convicted, regardless of whether the offense was related to driving.

However, critics of this practice say the loss of a driver’s license can make it difficult for people to hold down a job. This makes it more likely that they will be unable to pay child support and get the treatment they need for drug problems. It is an unnecessary barrier to becoming self-sufficient, productive, rehabilitated individuals that ultimately could serve only to worsen the cycle of drug abuse or crime that these individuals often find themselves in.

The practice stems from the “war on drugs” mindset that was prevalent in the 1980s and 1990s. Although federal practices have reverted back to many of those older, harsher enforcement procedures under current Attorney General Jeff Sessions, there are studies that suggest that many of these punishments do not help to rehabilitate offenders.

Keep your license

To improve your chances of keeping your driver’s license if you’ve been charged with a serious crime, meet with experienced Reading criminal defense lawyer David R. Eshelman.


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