March 3, 2021
Alabama Lawyers Dedicated to Helping Individuals Reorganize Their Finances
Certain debts are nondischargeable, which means that filing for bankruptcy will not wipe them out. Among nondischargeable debts are traffic fines. These will not be discharged through Chapter 7 bankruptcy, and they must be repaid in Chapter 13 bankruptcy. When too many traffic fines accumulate, or when an uninsured driver gets into a car accident and cannot pay for the other party’s property damages or personal injury claims, the result can be the loss of a driver’s license. At Grainger Legal Services, our Alabama bankruptcy attorneys can counsel people on getting a driver’s license back when they are in this situation.
Getting Your Driver’s License Back Through Bankruptcy
A suspended license puts most workers in a bind, especially if there is no convenient bus or other public transportation to take them to work. Without a license, a debtor may not be able to get to work and make enough money to pay off the debts. Moreover, many people rely on their driver’s licenses in order to do their jobs, such as pizza delivery people, electricians, and mail carriers.
Many people file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 because they are unable to meet all their obligations with their current income. With reduced financial obligations—such as no credit card debt and no medical bills to pay— many debtors are able to pay off their debts to the government and get their driver’s license released.
You should be aware that Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 do not discharge fines or penalties owed to a governmental entity. This means that you cannot get rid of traffic fines (or other debts to the government) by filing and receiving a discharge. Similarly, you may not be able to get rid of any restitution owed in a criminal case related to a motor vehicle offense by filing for bankruptcy. You would have to pay this debt in full, and you cannot use bankruptcy to get out of that debt. Likewise, if you willfully or malicious injured someone and thereby incurred debt, this debt would not be dischargeable.
If you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you can wipe out dischargeable debts, freeing up your income to pay off whatever has caused your driver’s license to be suspended. After the discharge is received, you can potentially pay off your traffic tickets with the income that ordinarily would go towards paying off past due amounts on your credit card, medical bills, mortgage payments, or rent and car payments.
Similarly, in Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you can include whatever debt caused your driver’s license to be suspended in the debts to be repaid through your repayment plan. Actually obtaining a discharge and freeing up your income can take 3-5 years in a Chapter 13 case, but as long as you show you are making the payments on your plan, you should be able to request a release of your license.
Discuss the Bankruptcy Process with an Alabama Attorney
Unfortunately, for many people, their driver’s license is crucial to getting to work, and making enough money to pay their debts while dealing with the loss of the license can present a great hardship. In some cases, however, the elimination of debt provided by Chapter 7 can help you save the money to pay back the traffic fines or another party’s damages and get your driver’s license back. At Grainger Legal Services, we understand how stressful it is to be in debt and unable to drive to work. Our Alabama bankruptcy lawyers can counsel people on Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. We have offices in Montgomery, Prattville, and Troy. Call us at (334) 260-0500 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.