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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.

Arrested manIt's probably no surprise that if you're struggling financially you're more likely to lose your driver's license, no matter how safe a driver you are.

The failure to either pay a fine or appear in court to contest it is a common trigger of license suspensions, says Gena, a lawyer who helps reinstate licenses. The problem, she said, often begins with a traffic stop for a simple equipment violation: a broken headlight, a missing front plate, an expired tag.

People may be unable to pay the fine, but see no point in contesting it in court. Doing neither leads to additional charges and mounting fines.

"That's mostly what I see. I don't see a whole lot of safety violations," says Gena. "People just don't know what the consequences are if they do nothing."