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dealing with a situation where your license has been permanently suspended due to moving violations while your license was revoked.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.