Help Those Hindered By License Suspensions With Just a Few Hours Of Your Time

Tags: Pro Bono
August 25, 2021   |   Emily Gibson

NCAJ and the North Carolina Pro Bono Resource Center are offering an excellent opportunity for attorneys and legal assistants to make mountains of change for many North Carolinians by taking just a few hours out of their day with the upcoming Drivers’ License Restoration Virtual Clinic.

Interested volunteers will learn how to help those who have had their drivers’ licenses indefinitely suspended due to an inability to pay traffic fees and court costs. Participation also includes one hour of CLE or CPE credit. The clinic will run from 9 a.m. to noon on Sept. 29.

Did you know that court procedures, DMV regulations and late fees make it impossible for many working-class people to keep their license? And these scenarios of seemingly unending license suspensions affect many more people than we think.

Consider these situations: If you have had to drive across counties and have collected minor traffic charges in each, your driving privileges could be in danger of suspension. If you miss court on even the most minor of traffic tickets, you will get a license suspension indefinitely until that ticket is resolved. If you wanted to make sure to keep your driving privileges and not get another suspension by paying the ticket you would have to get an attorney potentially. Perhaps you can’t afford that and the court cost. Perhaps you can’t even pay the court costs.

If you were convicted of several traffic tickets in multiple counties after missing court on one, you may be dealing with a situation where your license has been permanently suspended due to moving violations while your license was revoked. Additionally, if you do not not pay your fine in time, your license will be suspended for failure to comply. This suspension is indefinite until not only the fee is paid but until the late fee is also paid.

Additionally, there is a restoration fee at the DMV to regain your driving privilege. As if to worsen things for working class people across the state, the DMV started charging for hearings. If you can’t pay a hearing fee or figure out how to file for a waiver, then you can’t get the hearing and you don’t ever end your license suspension based on moving violations for license revoked. All these scenarios could be caused merely by expired inspection or minor speeding tickets in several counties, not anything criminal at all.

During the virtual clinic, volunteers will earn 1.0 hour of CLE- or CPE-qualified training and participate in a two-hour workshop. Participants will be trained to read driving records, identify the cause of a client’s license suspension from the DMV record and use the DMV record to create advice letters via template. The more volunteers we have across the state, the more we can accomplish to get people licensed who may otherwise not have a chance to do so. These are fathers, grandmothers, workers, friends, and neighbors. Let’s help get them on the road without a chance of arrest.

About the Author

Emily Gibson

Gibson Law, PLLC

Emily Gibson

Gibson Law, PLLC

Emily Gibson is a native North Carolinian, originally from Durham. After college, she worked as an AmeriCorps volunteer at the non-profit The Hispanic Liaison, which provided direct services to immigrants in Chatham County. Even before the practice of law, Attorney Gibson assisted with certain legal issues for victims of fraud.

This experience fighting for immigrants led her to take the LSAT. After her admittance to North Carolina Central University School of Law in 2005, she attended to her studies as well as interned with the Public Defender’s Office of Chatham County. After graduating cum laude and passing the North Carolina State Bar in 2008, Attorney Gibson worked at the Public Defender’s Office of Buncombe County for the following 3 years.  

Currently, after 10 years of practicing in primarily criminal defense, Attorney Gibson manages her firm, Gibson Law, PLLC. The firm assists with criminal, domestic and some civil cases. Additionally, all staff are bilingual.  Attorney Gibson is an active member of the North Carolina Bar, North Carolina Advocates for Justice, Wake County Academy of Trial Lawyers, Southern Law Poverty Center and the American Civil Liberties Union.