Debt, Bankruptcy, and... Your Driver's License?

Debt, Bankruptcy, and... Your Driver's License?

Posted by Chad Van Horn on Jan 24, 2017 7:35:54 AM

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There’s a law in Florida that’s part of the statutes that regulate motor vehicles, and it’s about financial responsibility. This law allows a driver’s license to be suspended, not by the county or state government,not for unpaid court costs, fines, fees, or infractions, but by a creditor who has received a judgment against you in a court of law. It’s something many people don’t know about until it’s too late, and even state lawmakers know that it disproportionately affects the people least able to afford the loss of their licenses. Bankruptcy can help you get your license back legally and quickly.


Yes, really.


When you file for bankruptcy, there’s a thing called an “automatic stay” and it stops your creditors for pursuing any collections activity against you in any other forum aside from bankruptcy court. Now, there are exceptions to the stay – such as fines, court costs, and child support – but the stay requires your creditor to release the suspension. If they don’t, they can be found in violation. The penalties are considerable, and can include actual and punitive damages to you, plus your attorney’s fees, court costs, and other expenses. Once you have your license back, your bankruptcy filing will get you the relief you need to pay down the debts that can’t be discharged in bankruptcy.


None of this is simple. Even a Chapter 7 – the “easy” bankruptcy – is a complex filing. You have means tests, federal and Florida law to navigate, and paperwork. You might try to DIY it, have your filing dismissed, and be back at square one. The same goes for using a bankruptcy preparer – who are only allowed to prepare your paperwork, not offer legal advice. You need an attorney who knows the law and can use it to help you get your life back on track, and you back to driving and working to support yourself and your family.


As I mentioned before, this law affects those who really can’t afford to pay their obligations. The ACLU has challenged the law, and that suit is making its way through the courts. In suspending a driver’s license, it can even result in the loss of the job that pays the bills. If you’re not already at rock bottom, this can get you there. If you are at rock bottom, it can bury you. Bankruptcy might be seen as a radical solution, but it’s a comprehensive one that can put you back on better footing – even with the denting it gives your credit rating.


If you have lost your license, and are past the point of no return with debt, we can help. We are a specialty practice devoted to helping people in a variety of debt and financial circumstances get out from under crippling debts. Call Our Fort Lauderdale or West Palm Beach offices, and make an appointment for a free consultation. We are open seven days a week and we can get your life – and your license – back.


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Topics: Bankruptcy, Chapter 7


About Chad Van Horn


Chad T. Van Horn, Esq. is a South Florida business leader and founding partner attorney of Van Horn Law Group, P.A. Through a combination of dedicated philanthropy, spirited entrepreneurship and legal expertise, he applies his resources and network to helping people. Learn more about Chad Van Horn.


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