DA: No prosecution if license revoked for financial reasons

DA: No prosecution if license revoked for financial reasons

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Thousands of Shelby County court cases dismissed – drivers with revoked or suspended licenses are getting a big break.

The Shelby County District Attorney just unveiled a new plan to crack down on serious crime while easing up on those trying to get their licenses back.

Shelby County DA Amy Weirich says so many people are being ticketed for driving on a suspended or revoked license, it's bogging down the court system.

So, the DA is changing the system.

"I'm paying court costs and fines just to get my license back,” said Paitruan Lott.

Lott, 24, had her driver's license revoked because she can't afford to pay her court fees.

"It's now $999,” Lott said.

With a mountain of debt, no license, and two kids to take care of, Lott said she’s unable to take care of business.

Weirich says her office recently implemented a new program to help people like Lott. .

"The reason for their revocation is strictly monetary, strictly because they owe somebody money, we're kicking those cases out of the system," Weirich said.

If you're caught driving on a revoked license and it was revoked because you didn't pay criminal fines, traffic tickets, or child support, your case will be dismissed.

"For those offenders in our community who are simply poor or struggling to make ends meet and this is one more burden, our office is no longer going to do anything to make that burden greater,” Weirich said.

Now that a federal judge ordered the state of Tennessee to reinstate the licenses of those who lost them simply for not paying court fees or traffic fines, Lott’s next step is calling the Department of Safety to get her license back.

"Trust me, I will!, I'm going to call first thing in the morning,” Lott said.

The DA says 3,600 cases in General Sessions court last month were dismissed under this new policy. That's 43 percent of the case load.

This allows prosecutors to focus their attention on the serious, violent crime cases.

However, if your license is revoked for a criminal reason like DUI or child endangerment, this new policy does not apply to you.

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