About Terence McGinn
Posts by Terence McGinn:
Your state cannot deny you a driver’s license because you are in bankruptcy.
I’m often asked the question: Can I be discriminated against in getting a driver’s license if I’ve been discharged in bankruptcy? The answer to that question is no. Let’s say that you had a number of traffic tickets and/or fines assessed against you. You include those debts in your bankruptcy petition, and you are granted a discharge. It’s now time to get your driver’s license renewed. You then go into your local DMV county office and request that your driver’s license be renewed. The DMV agent checks your credit record says, “I’m sorry sir but you can’t get your license renewed because you’ve had a bunch of traffic tickets that were included in your bankruptcy case, and we never got paid.” That would be a violation of the bankruptcy code section 525(a).
Bankruptcy case law holds that the government can’t discriminate against a person due to the fact that the debtor included the ticket, fine, or other assessment in his or her bankruptcy case.
In other words, any county DMV office that refuses to issue or renew a driver’s license to a debtor who seeks protection in bankruptcy for the failure to pay a past traffic ticket or fine, is in violation of federal bankruptcy law. That means that you, as a member of the motoring public have a constitutional right to possess a valid driver’s identification issued by your state, even if there’s a state law that says otherwise. The United States Constitution says that federal laws enacted by the United States Congress are superior to any state law that contradicts any federal act. The DMV in your state cannot deny or suspend a driver’s license because of the nonpayment of any ticket or fine that’s included in the debtor’s bankruptcy case.
If you go to the county DMV office and they ask you if you’ve been discharged in bankruptcy, or if you’ve had a fine or assessment included in a bankruptcy plan and you are denied a driver’s license, then you likely have a good claim against the state for discrimination against you for reinstatement of your license under the federal bankruptcy statutes.