Driver’s License Suspension for Failure to Pay Court Fines

Last Updated On: 3/6/2018 4:28:14 PM

Introduction

Driver’s licenses can be suspended for lots of reasons, such as: Failure to have insurance, or Driving Under the Influence. Another reason is for failing to pay fines assessed by a court (maybe for a traffic ticket). This information applies ONLY to situations where a driver’s license is suspended for failure to pay court fines.

What steps should I take if my license suspension is still pending?

1. Check with the West Virginia Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV). You can call the DMV at (304) 558-3900 or 1-800-642-9066 to find out the current status of your driver’s license. Also, you can check the status of your West Virginia driver’s license by going online to the DMV website. If you are calling, the employee you speak with can give you a list of courts you need to contact to clear up fines. They will also give you each fee owed to DMV for reinstatement.

2. Pay your fines. You have 180 days to pay off your fines before your license is suspended. If you are still in the 180 days, you should make every effort to pay your fines. Borrow the money from family or friends if necessary. Once your license is suspended you will have a much harder time getting it reinstated. Getting caught driving on a suspended license will result in further fines and possible suspension time.

What steps should I take if my license has been suspended for failure to pay fines?

  • Pay all fines in full. When each fine is paid, the Magistrate/Municipal court clerk will give you a “Verification of Satisfaction” form. If you have multiple fines, you will need to get a Verification of Satisfaction for each fine. Also, there are some courts that have purged tickets from their system. If your case has been purged you will need to get a “Verification of Satisfaction” form from the clerk.
  • Pay Fees and Mail Forms to DMV. You will need to file the Verification of Satisfaction forms with the main DMV Office in Charleston, West Virginia before you can get your license reinstated. There are also reinstatement fees to be paid to the DMV. Mail Reinstatement Forms and Fees to: WV DMV, PO Box 17030, Charleston, WV 25317 or you may pay them online. If you have questions, call the DMV at 304-558-3900 or 1-800-642-9066.
  • Do Not Drive until your License is Reinstated. If your license is suspended and you are caught driving you will pay additional fines and fees. If you have been caught driving on a suspended more than once, there may be an additional period imposed by DMV where you cannot drive after all of your reinstatement fees are paid. You must not drive during this time.
  • Retest. You will have to take both the written and driven test again if your license has been expired for 6 months or more. The amount of the fee depends on your age and the type of license you receive.

Can I get a Waiver to Drive for Employment Purposes?

If your license has been suspended for failure to pay fines, you can petition the Circuit Court for a hardship waiver (or just a reduction) of the unpaid fines. Or, you can petition the Circuit Court for a “work permit” to drive for employment purposes only until fines are paid off. WV Code 50-3-2a. You must prove that you are unable to pay your fines, are employed full-time or part-time, and operate your vehicle solely for employment purposes.

There is a cost to file a court petition. This can be waived if you do not make enough money and qualify for a Fee Waiver. To learn more about asking for a Fee Waiver, go here.

Can I set up a payment plan to pay my fines? 

If you get a ticket and cannot pay it in full at once, you should make every effort to arrange a payment plan. You will have to do this through the magistrate or municipal court.

Payment plans must be approved within the time period for payment. If you are already past the payment deadline, you won't be able to arrange a payment plan. 

Payment Plans can be set up for as long as 180 days (six months). Payments can be set up on a monthly or weekly basis.

Also, under the Second Chance Driver’s License Program, you can apply to set up a repayment plan to reinstate your driver’s license if it has been suspended for unpaid court costs. To be eligible, there are 2 criteria.  First, your license must have been suspended for failure to pay court costs. Second, you must be at least 12 months behind in payment of the costs.  To apply, you must complete the application and submit the application to the WV Division of Justice and Community Services (DJCS).  The application is available online at www.djcs.wv.gov.

Summary of Steps

  1. Check with DMV about status of your license
  2. Pay All Court Fines in Full and get Verification of Satisfaction for each
  3. If your license is suspended do not drive
  4. Consider Petition to Court for “Drive to Work Permit”
  5. Try to set up a Payment Plan, if you can't pay in full. Also, consider applying for Second Chance Driver's License Program.
  6. Mail Proof of Payment (Verification of Satisfaction) to the main DMV in Charleston and pay Reinstatement Fees

Originally Written by Ashley Hooker, Shepherd Program Fellow, 2006; Updated March 2018.

This is general legal information. For guidance about your situation, talk to a lawyer.