- Associated Press - Tuesday, October 25, 2016

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - Civil rights advocates have filed a lawsuit seeking to prevent the California Department of Motor Vehicles from suspending driver’s licenses for people who can’t afford to pay traffic fines.

The suit filed Tuesday says that the DMV can suspend licenses only when a driver has “willfully” chosen not to pay a traffic fine or appear in court. The plaintiffs argue that an inability to pay does not constitute a willful failure.

The case was filed in Alameda County Superior Court by seven organizations on behalf of plaintiffs who say their licenses were suspended because they couldn’t afford to pay traffic fines.

They say for many people a driver’s license is essential to get to work, child care or a medical appointment.

DMV officials declined to comment.

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