Since June of 2015, Suffolk County has a new policy concerning traffic stops. Police Officers in Suffolk County are checking on each traffic stop as to whether the parent involved owes back child support. Upon reviewing the court records, if it is found the parent owes child support the parent is handcuffed and taken into custody. County Executive Steve Bellone, on discussing the new policy, stated “those who bear the financial burden of taking care of their children must live up to their responsibility.” Bellone went on further to say “and we are sending a message we take that issue very seriously.”
Suspension of Driver’s License For Non-Payment of Child Support
Under New York State law a driver’s license can be suspended for any driver who has not made a child support payment for a period of four months and did not make a payment within 45 days after getting formal notice of the four month delinquency. There are approximately 12,500 Suffolk County residents who have suspended driver’s licenses for failure to make child support payments. These driver’s license suspensions are checked when the police officers run a driver’s license history during the course of a traffic stop. In a case where the driver’s license is suspended they are being charged with aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle in the third degree, a misdemeanor punishable by up to 30 days in jail, a $200 to $500 fine or both.
Motivating The Payment of Child Support
Suffolk County Legislator William Lindsay III, recently stated regarding this new program to catch deadbeat parents “some people blame the system and walk out of Family Court laughing. This is aimed at people who aren’t paying anything for a long time and think they can thumb their noses at the system.”
Tim Sini, an Assistant Deputy County Attorney, stated “putting handcuffs on someone usually changes their behavior, when referring to motivating deadbeat parents to make their child support payments.” Assistant Deputy County Attorney Sini indicates the County is going to be following up this program with a six month study to determine whether the policy of arresting driver’s for non-payment of child support and charging them with a crime is having a positive impact on the payments of child support.