Unpaid fines could costs thousands their licenses

CLINTON, Tenn. (AP) -- The impact of a law that gives Tennessee court clerks a powerful tool for collecting unpaid court costs will soon be felt when thousands of people begin losing their driver's licenses.

The law says defendants have a year to pay all court costs in misdemeanor and felony cases or the Department of Safety will automatically revoke their licenses. It took effect last July, and the one-year grace period to pay is coming to an end for some defendants.

Court officials told The Knoxville News Sentinel (http://bit.ly/MDIdXP) that they welcome a new way to collect millions of dollars in outstanding debts, but they worry about the burden on an already overloaded court system.

Court clerks will be providing the information to the state about who hasn't paid their fines.

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