Lawsuit to help drivers get back suspended licenses

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - A new lawsuit calls a Tennessee law unfair. The law gives the state permission to revoke your right to drive if you have unpaid traffic tickets.

The lawsuit was filed by Just City and several other organizations. It could affect more than 250,000 Tennesseans, including many who have to show up to traffic court at 201 Poplar.

Gregory Debose had his license suspended three years ago. In that time, he has not had the needed $2,500 to get his license back.

"It's really kind of hard because you cannot go anywhere, because everywhere you go the police are going to pull you over," Debose said.

Right now, you can get your license suspended for reasons like a felony conviction, addiction to drugs or alcohol, inappropriate conduct, and for not paying a traffic ticket.

Along with several other groups, Just City recently filed a class action lawsuit looking to stop Tennessee's policy of suspension over traffic tickets.

Just City said it's a policy that overwhelmingly affects poor people and African Americans.

In a statement, Executive Director Josh Spickler said in part, "The ability to drive and move about the community is crucial to the health and success of nearly all Tennesseans."

"It's hard to pay when you don't have a job and you can't go to work if you don't have a license," Debose said.

In the lawsuit, the nonprofit asks the state to outlaw the policy and reinstate the licenses of 250,000 Tennesseans immediately.

Copyright 2017 WMC Action News 5. All rights reserved.