When a person is on probation or parole, very rarely are they current on the court fines, fees, and restitution they must pay as part of their reparations for the crimes they committed. Just as frequently, courts suspend the probationers’ and parolees’ driver’s licenses until the fines, fees, and restitution are paid in full. The problem, particularly in rural areas, is that if you do not have a driver’s license, then you have no means of transportation to travel to and from work or school. Without transportation, you cannot maintain a job. If you cannot maintain employment, then you certainly cannot pay your debt to society, nor can you support yourself or your family, at least through legal means. Crime frequently becomes the only option left.
A hardship license program will provide more crime victims with restitution, reduce recidivism, and spur employment and economic activity. The program would allow probationers and parolees who have not committed driving related offenses but who have had their driver's licenses suspended for failure to pay fines, fees, or restitution, to have a restricted license, allowing them to drive to work and school. This gives them the legal means to travel to and from the job they have that they are using to pay off their fines, fees, and restitution, or to and from the education or training that will put them in a position to succeed in the future, or both. Their driver’s licenses remain restricted for these purposes until the fines, fees, and restitution are paid in full.