Bay Area Legal Aid is proud of our work as part of a coalition including the Financial Justice Project of the San Francisco Treasurer’s Office, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area, and Legal Services for Prisoners with Children, to bring about reforms in policies and practices in San Francisco traffic court.
Today we are happy to share the news that the court has lifted thousands of holds on licenses belonging to defendants who missed a court date. State law no longer permits “failure to appear holds,” recognizing that the practice essentially punished poverty and had no impact on public safety. But following passage of the law in 2017, San Francisco’s backlog of 88,000 holds presented a significant challenge. Today marks a major step toward facing that challenge and creating a more equitable approach to traffic court for low-income defendants.
Media coverage of this significant gain for economic justice includes:
- “88,000 people in SF who lost driver’s licenses may get them back,” Dominic Fracassa, San Francisco Chronicle, April 16, 2019.
- “San Francisco, first in the nation, clears all 88,000 driver’s license holds, a poverty plague,” Evan Ward, San Francisco Bayview, April 16, 2019
- “San Francisco Clears 88K Suspended Driver Licenses Over Missed Traffic Court Appearances,” KPIX 5 CBS SF Bay Area, April 16, 2019
- “San Francisco un-suspends thousands of driver’s licenses,” Jerold Chinn, SFBay, April 17, 2019
- “City Successfully Clears 88K Suspended Licenses For People Who Failed To Appear In Traffic Court,” Bay City News Services on sfgate.com, April 16, 2019
- “San Francisco Will Make It Easier For Thousands To Get Back Suspended Driver’s Licenses,” Carrie Hodousek, KCBS Radio, April 16, 2019
- “San Francisco Ends Poverty Penalty,” enewsletter from The Financial Justice Project, April 19, 2019