License Fees and Bankruptcy- Can they be discharged?

Are drivers license fees dischargeable in a bankruptcy?

Many states have laws in place that govern license fees an individual must pay to reinstate their drivers license in the event they have lost the license because of reckless driving or other moving violations.  In some states, these license fees can be hundreds if not thousands of dollars when there are multiple violations.

Therefore, some individuals consider bankruptcy as a way to eliminate these license fees so that they can get their drivers license bank.  But does declaring bankruptcy take care of drivers license reinstatement fees?

The answer, like many things in life, is it depends.

One of the types of debt listed in the Bankruptcy Code that is generally not dischargeable is “a fine, penalty, or forfeiture payable to and for the benefit of a governmental unit.”

When it comes to license fees related to reinstatement of a drivers license, generally such license fees are deemed money for the benefit of the government.  Therefore, such license fees are not dischargeable in Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

However, there are a wide variety of drivers license fees that can be either civil or criminal penalties and that can vary based on the laws of the state where the fees were imposed.  An individual would need to speak with a bankruptcy attorney who is familiar with the bankruptcy laws and court rulings in the individual’s jurisdiction to determine if a given fee is dischargeable through bankruptcy.

Obtaining Professional Help from a Bankruptcy Attorney


The information above is general in nature and should not be considered legal advice.  Bankruptcy laws vary from state to state.  Updates to others laws that impose fines or penalties on an individual may change how bankruptcy laws apply to a specific case.

In addition, filing bankruptcy is not something that should be done lightly.  Bankruptcy will affect your personal credit for many years.  Therefore, you should speak with a professional who is familiar with bankruptcy laws before making a decision.

If you want to speak with a bankruptcy attorney who can review your individual situation and advise you on the best course of action, you can do so by calling the phone number located at the top of this web site.  The initial conversation with an attorney is free of charge and does not obligate you to anything further.  And anything you say to an attorney is completely confidential, just between you and him.

So you have every reason to make the call and get the help you need today.

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Beth L. is a content writer for Better Bankruptcy. Good content and information is one of many methods we utilize to bring you the answers you need.