2018 Bills

HB 144: Stop Suspending Driver Licenses Due to Non-Driving Drug Offenses

This bill passed the House 50-16 and the Senate unanimously.

Libertas Institute supports this bill

Staff review of this legislation finds that it is aligned with our principles and merits support.

Federal law once required states to suspend the driver license of a person convicted of a drug offense. That law has since changed, and most states have now done away with this restriction. In fact, only 12 states still suspend driver licenses for non-driving drug offenses—including Utah.

But while it makes sense to suspend the license of a person guilty of a crime pertaining to driving, it does not make sense to do it for a crime wholly unrelated to operating a vehicle.

Enter Representative Cory Maloy, who is sponsoring House Bill 144 to remedy this problem. And it is a problem: suspending a person’s license leads to less mobility, unreliable transportation, and thus loss of employment and increased economic instability. An average of 9,468 Utahns have their driver license suspended each year for a non-driving related drug offense each year.

The new law would eliminate the option for a judge to suspend a person’s driver license for a drug offense unless the court finds that the person was operating a vehicle at the time of the offense.