Have you had your driver’s license suspended? Are you wondering, “can filing bankruptcy get my driver’s license back?”
Many Ohioans depend upon their cars as their primary mode of transportation. Some of the larger cities like Cleveland and Columbus have public transportation systems, but most residents in the state rely on their cars to get them to work, the grocery store, or their kid’s school. You need your car, so when your driver’s license gets suspended, it can leave you in a lurch, especially if you’re hit with court fines and a hefty reinstatement fee to get it back.
If you are struggling to make ends meet, dealing with a suspended license may be more than you can handle. When you can barely afford to pay bills, you tend to live paycheck to paycheck with little room in your budget for extras. Being saddled with fees from the Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) could make it impossible to afford your payments.
You get caught in a vicious cycle because you need your car to drive to work and get a paycheck, yet you can’t afford to get your driver’s license back, so you can’t drive your car and you have no way to get to work. You also lose the ability to go buy food for your family or get to doctor’s appointments. With bills piling up and no end in sight, you may want to look into bankruptcy as a solution to your financial situation.
Contact our experienced bankruptcy lawyers at Luftman, Heck & Associates for more information about more information about bankruptcy and how filing it may help get your driver’s license back. Call today at (216) 586-6600, or contact us online for a free case consultation.
How Can Filing for Bankruptcy Get My Driver’s License Back?
Luckily, BMV reinstatement fees are a dischargeable debt, so if you were to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you could get them eliminated. If you filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, your debts are assembled into an affordable payment plan. You would still owe the reinstatement fee, but it would likely be reduced so you could pay it off easier.
Another aspect of bankruptcy that helps ease your stress is the automatic stay. Once you’ve filed, the court issues an automatic stay to all your creditors, prohibiting them from attempting to collect on your debts during the bankruptcy process. Automatic stays also stop other courses of action, such as foreclosures and automobile repossessions. If you’re in danger of losing your car, you can use this time to pool your money and put it towards what you owe for past-due payments.
How Do I Get My Reinstatement Fees Rescinded?
You must inform the BMV of your bankruptcy discharge and show proof that your reinstatement fees were part of your case. To do so, provide a copy of your petition or your discharge, as well as a copy of your Schedule of Debts that lists BMV reinstatement fees to a reinstatement center or a license agency. You can find a list of locations on the BMV’s website, or you can mail your paperwork to:
Attn: Compliance Unit
P.O. Box 16583
Columbus, Ohio 43216
Court Fees Are Not Dischargeable
There are several reasons why your license can be suspended, such as nonpayment of traffic tickets, DUI, or failure to obtain automobile insurance. The BMV provides a list of reinstatement fees on their website, but those fees aren’t the only cost to you. All license suspensions will come with extra costs, such as fines, unpaid tickets, and court costs. For example:
- Driving Under a Suspended License- If you’ve racked up a speeding ticket or two that you’ve neglected to pay, your license may be suspended. Continuing to drive with a suspended license can lead to fines up to $1,000 or even jail time.
- Driving Without Insurance- This charge brings a fine from $100 up to $600, depending on the number of violations you’ve had. In addition, you will need to purchase and maintain vehicle insurance, would could be more expensive if you have points on your license.
- DUI- The fine for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol could cost you more than $1,000 and could land you in jail, adding bail money to your fine.
Fees related to court costs or judgments are not dischargeable in bankruptcy, so you will still need to pay these. However, your Chapter 7 bankruptcy will free up the money you had previously been putting towards various unsecured debts, leaving you able to work out a budget for those items that could not be discharged. This is important for getting your license back because the BMV will not restore a license that isn’t eligible for reinstatement.
Talk to A Lawyer About Your Bankruptcy Options
If your license has been suspended, or you’re falling behind on your debt, you might want to talk to an Ohio bankruptcy attorney about your options. At Luftman, Heck & Associates, we have helped many people in your situation. We can explain the different types of consumer bankruptcy and discuss what choices may be best in your situation. Contact us online for a free consultation, or give us a call at (216) 586-6600.