Bankruptcy Can Help Reinstate Suspension of Florida Driver License
Jan. 31, 2022
Did you know that, the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles can suspend your driver license if you fail to pay a final judgment deriving from a motor vehicle accident (Florida Statute Section 324.121)? In this blog we’ll explain how bankruptcy may be the solution to reinstating a license that was suspended due to a motor vehicle accident.
“At Fault” Drivers Beware
If you were the driver in a motor vehicle accident, were “at fault,” and caused property damage, the party that suffered damages can file a civil lawsuit and obtain a final judgment to recover the damages. If the final judgment isn’t paid in full within 30 days or a repayment agreement isn’t entered into, the prevailing party can request the Department of Motor Vehicles to suspend the “at fault” driver’s driver license. A driver license can also be suspended if a repayment agreement was entered into, but later the “at fault” driver defaults on the agreement by failing to maintain the agreed-upon payments.
Enforcement by The Department of Motor Vehicles
Final judgments submitted to the Department of Motor Vehicles are immediately enforced and the at-fault party’s license, tags, and registrations are suspended for 20 years or until the judgment is “satisfied.” This is a harsh penalty. Suspension of a driver license can lead to a vicious cycle, causing loss of employment and creating further hardship to pay the judgment. It can have other dramatic impacts, such as the inability to transport children to school and medical appointments. Some drivers continue to drive while their license is suspended which can result in deeper financial trouble and even criminal sanctions.
Approximately 2 Million Floridians Currently Have a Suspended License
We have been helping clients file bankruptcy for over 30 years and have handled thousands of bankruptcy cases. Even so, we were astonished to learn that in 2021, there were nearly 2 million Floridians with a suspended driver license. Many of the suspensions weren’t because drivers were dangerous criminals, but because they couldn’t afford to pay judgments or court fines and fees. Many drivers desperately need to get their driver license reinstated but can’t afford to pay judgments. This is where filing bankruptcy may help. Our team is experienced in dealing with judgments in bankruptcy.
Filing Bankruptcy Can Discharge or Satisfy Judgments to Enable Driver License Reinstatement
If an “at fault” party files bankruptcy, there is an immediate “automatic stay” that goes into effect. This stay stops all creditors from attempting to collect debts, including plaintiffs that have filed a lawsuit to recover their damages resulting from a motor vehicle accident. However, there are some exceptions to the types of debts that can be discharged, such as accidents involving Driving While Intoxicated (“DUI”). When we assist clients with filing bankruptcy, we can help identify whether the judgment can be discharged. If the judgment can be discharged, our team makes it a number one priority to provide our clients with the necessary court documents to show proof to the Department of Motor Vehicles that the judgment has been discharged or “satisfied” so they can immediately reinstate their license. This can be such a relief, as many clients we meet have had their license suspended for years and some even decades! They often feel helpless, with no hope in sight.
Getting the Fresh Start You Deserve
Congress’ intent for individuals filing bankruptcy is to give honest debtors a fresh start. BransonLaw wants to help you obtain a fresh start. If you have a judgment relating to a motor vehicle accident and your license is suspended, contact our office today. Our team is ready to help you get your license reinstated as soon as possible and get the fresh start you need. The consultation is free. Let us help you get educated on how bankruptcy can help reinstate a suspended driver license.