ACLU sues over state suspending licenses due to unpaid fines

SEATTLE (AP) — The American Civil Liberties Union of Washington is suing the state Department of Licensing, arguing the state’s practice of suspending drivers’ licenses when they fail to pay traffic fines unfairly hurts people who can’t afford to pay. The Seattle Times reports the complaint names the Washington State Department of Licensing and department director Teresa Berntsen as defendants. Currently, when drivers get a moving violation like a speeding ticket, they can pay the fine or request a hearing. But if they don’t respond to the citation, their license is suspended. Licensing spokesperson Christine Anthony said Wednesday that the department just received the lawsuit and will work with the Attorney General’s Office on next steps.