North Carolina: Civil rights groups seek preliminary injunction against DMV revoking people’s driver’s licenses for nonpayment of fines and court costs. A federal lawsuit said the practice is unconstitutional and punishes poor people.

A federal judge will have to decide whether to temporarily block the N.C. Department of Motor Vehicles from revoking people’s driver’s licenses for failing to pay traffic tickets.

Last year, several civil rights groups, including the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Southern Coalition for Social Justice and the ACLU of North Carolina, filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in the Middle District of North Carolina, saying this process is not fair and violates people’s constitutional rights. The lawsuit said that as of the fall of 2017, more than 436,000 driver’s licenses were revoked over nonpayment of traffic tickets in a state where nearly 15.4 percent of the population lives in poverty. North Carolina has the 13th highest poverty rate in the country, the lawsuit said.

On Wednesday, the groups sought a preliminary injunction against N.C. DMV to prevent the state agency from revoking people’s driver’s licenses for non-payment of fines and court costs. Attorneys for DMV are seeking a ruling in their favor to dismiss the lawsuit as a matter of law. Plaintiffs are also wanting to make the lawsuit class-action.