Judge may be charged with Violation if he fails to take possession of suspended drivers license.

Legislature makes it a Violation for Judge to fail to take up suspended driver’s license.

    Under Chapter 186.550(1)  the clerk is charged with the responsibility to report a person’s conviction that results in the suspension of his driving privileges to the Dept. of Transportation.

Under KRS 186.550(2) the court is required to “take up� the person’s drivers license when same is suspended due to a conviction.  The court is required by this statute to forward the license to the Department of Transportation.


KRS 186.990 the penal statute relating to 186.550 (1) and (2) is worded strangely as it first mentions the clerk and the judge, but it only penalizes a violation of 186.550(1) which is the duty of the clerk, and it does not mention 186.550(2) which is the duty of the judge.

    We believe the actual practice is that the judge typically expects the bench Clerk to be responsible for taking up the driver’s license and forwarding it to the Dept. of Transportation.  Most judges don’t know about this law, and don’t involve themselves in the work of the clerk’s office.

  The first statute might be interpreted to impose upon the judge a penalty if he doesn’t direct the Clerk to file the required report.   Whether or not the Legislature should be imposing fines upon the trial judge in this manner is an interesting question regarding the “inherent powers� of the court.

Possible Remedy for the Judge:

   We would suggest that the trial judge (and this includes Circuit Judges who hear criminal cases, since you may get a DUI case combined with a felony, and then this statute would apply the Circuit Judge as well) issue a standing order to the clerk to file the required report and to take up the license of the defendant, and forward it to the Dept. of Transportation.

Example of suggested Court Order:

                       General Order #____   _______District/Circuit Court

It is hereby ordered that the Clerk of ____county shall fully comply with the provisions of KRS 186.550, and shall under this order be directed to take possession of all driver’s licenses suspended by the action of the court, and promptly forward said license to the Dept. of Transportation.    In the event the defendant does not have the license in his possession at the time of the conviction,  this shall be reported to the court in writing, and all such persons shall be noticed to appear in court with 15 days.



Statute sets up duties of Clerks and Trial Judge regarding suspension of driver’s privileges:

KRS 186.550 Courts to report convictions and send licenses to cabinet.
(1) The clerk of any court having jurisdiction over offenses committed under motor
vehicle laws shall report upon a form furnished by the cabinet the conviction, pleas
or forfeiture of bond arising under motor vehicle laws, to the cabinet within fifteen
(15) days.
(2) The court shall take up the motor vehicle operator’s license certificate of a person
convicted of any of the offenses for which mandatory revocation is provided by
KRS 186.560 and have it immediately forwarded to the cabinet with the report
covering the conviction.

The Penalty Provision:

KRS 186.990 Penalties.
(4) Any clerk or judge failing to comply with KRS 186.550(1) shall be guilty of a

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