County Clerks Have New Tool For Collecting

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 beginning to come to an end for some defendants. Court officials say that they welcome a new way to collect millions of dollars in outstanding costs, but they worry about the burden it will put on an already overloaded court system. Court clerks will be the ones providing the information to the state about who hasn’t paid their fines. Coffee County Circuit Court Clerk Heather Duncan says that while her office has more owed to it than they collect, they have “one of the highest percentages of collections of any circuit court office in the state.”