LIFT Dane Corner: Fees and Fines, What They Mean for Health

Pic of Driver from perspective of back seat Imagine you barely have enough money to pay rent and buy food and you receive a parking ticket because you forgot to move your car to the alternative side of the street.  Do you pay that ticket or feed your children? 

The unpaid parking ticket then racks up late fees and can lead to a suspended driver’s license which makes it harder to get to work, drop the kids at childcare, and buy groceries at the most affordable store.  You have a choice – drive on a suspended license or take the bus during COVID.  

Fines and fees cause stress, divert money away from basic needs, and under a pandemic can lead to a choice between breaking the law and risking exposure to COVID on public transportation.  This short clip tells the story about how fines and fees hurt all of us.

Our LIFT Dane project is addressing Fines and Fees in several ways.  We are joining others in our community on a Dane County Board committee to review the current fines and fees assessed in the civil, human services, and criminal justice systems and determine how Dane County can reduce or eliminate these fees, fines, and costs.  We are also hosting virtual pop-up clinics to help people reinstate their driver’s license and address outstanding fees.  Many people qualify for community service instead of paying the fee.  Lastly, we are building a module in our technology app to make it as easy as possible to address these fees and their consequences.

FIRST LOOK:  Legal Tune Up, Criminal Record