Driving Status Violation Convictions
The percentage of defendants charged with driving status violations that are found guilty in St. Louis City Municipal Court
The Municipal Court is equally likely to find black and white defendants guilty of violating regulations around driving status.
A score of 100 represents racial equity, meaning there are no racial disparities in outcomes. The lower the Equity Score, the greater the disparity.
For Driving Status Violation Convictions, a score of 100 — a score reflecting racial equity — would mean black and white defendants are equally likely to be convicted of driving status violations.
What does this indicator measure?
Driving Status Violation Convictions measures the percentage of defendants charged with driving status violations that are found guilty in St. Louis City Municipal Court. These violations include unlawful or expired plates, driving on a revoked or suspended license, operating a motor vehicle without maintaining insurance, and vehicle license/inspection/title violations. In 2016, there were 14,846 cases heard in St. Louis City Municipal Court with these types of charges, of which 9,301 defendants were found guilty. This equates to a 62.6% conviction rate.
Driving Status Violation Convictions analysis
Conviction rate for violating regulations around driving status in Municipal Court in St. Louis City.
|All||Black||White||Disparity Ratio||Equity Score|
|Cases with driving status violation charges||14,846||11,696||2,979||-||-|
|Conviction rate||62.6%||62.5%||63.0%||0.992 to 1||100|
Data Source: St. Louis City Municipal Court, 2016.
What does this analysis mean?
Black and white defendants are equally likely to be convicted of driving status violations in St. Louis City Municipal Court. In 2016, 62.5% of black defendants are convicted of driving status violations, compared to 63% of white defendants.
Why do Driving Status Violation Convictions matter?
An equitable driving status violation conviction rate suggests that our Municipal Court judges are equitably enforcing the law. No matter the race of the defendant, convictions for these crimes come with high-cost consequences. Upon conviction, these charges result in fines and driving record points. Points on one's driving record lead to car insurance rate increases and license suspension or revocation. License suspension means a person cannot drive for a period of 30-, 60-, or 90-days, while license revocation means a person cannot drive for a year and must reapply for a new driver’s license at the end of that year. Driving while one’s license is suspended or revoked results in further charges and issuance of the maximum number of points (12) on one’s license. Revocation or suspension of a driver’s license makes it difficult for someone to get to a job, which could be necessary to pay delinquent fines or to come into compliance with the law.
Which Calls to Action from the Ferguson Commission report are linked with this indicator?
While there are no calls to action specifically about driving status violation convictions, there are calls to action related to municipal convictions that result in court fines more generally, which include:
- Utilizing Community-Based Alternatives to Traditional Sentencing
- Redefining Courts’ Response to Nonviolent Offenses
Questions for further investigation
What can St. Louis do to reduce Driving Status Violations?
How can I learn more?
In 2018, the Kansas City Star profiled the disparate impact of "economic-based crimes" by drivers in Kansas City. The article notes that "not having insurance is less defensible in court, whereas a defense attorney could more easily contest a speeding ticket."