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A driver's license suspension has become a one-size-fits-all punishment for a variety of offenses that have nothing to do with driving.

Car keysMolly Gena, a lawyer with the Legal Action of Wisconsin, had a client who lost her license after the relative's car she'd borrowed was stopped for suspended registration.

What many people don't know is that tickets for vehicle violations are issued to whomever is driving the car at the time. This is true even if it's an equipment violation, and even if the driver has no way of knowing about it.

"The vehicle was not registered because of parking tickets," says Gena. "It was a family member's car. But she didn't know."

The woman, a single mother, was unable to pay a $200 ticket that followed, and her license was suspended for two years. She landed a good job shortly thereafter, but without transportation had to quit.