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Local Leaders Looking For Grassroots Solutions to Drivers License Issues in Florida

July 7th, 2017 by Jake Stofan
1.2 million Floridan’s have had their drivers licenses suspended or revoked.
Not having a license makes it harder to keep a job and can lead to poverty or criminal behavior
Of the more than one million Floridians who have lost their Drivers license, three out of four can’t legally drive because they couldn’t afford, or ignored a fine.
Audley Campbell lost his license three years ago as a result of failing to pay multiple tickets.
Campbell said he could have been able to pay sooner if fines hadn’t kept piling up.
“You know I was young an reckless. I got a few tickets and I let them get away from me. So it just got suspended and it just took a while to collect the money to get everything back situated,” said Campbell.
Leon County Judge, Layne Smith says loosing a license can create a cycle.
People who can’t pay a fine, drive to work to earn money, get caught, and find themselves in more trouble.
“To rub salt on the wound I’m going to add fines fees and costs. That’s not discretionary on my part, I’m following the statute by doing so. So people can get into a downward spiral,” said Leon County Judge Layne Smith.
Drivers can lose a license for not paying child support, drug offenses, or lack of insurance to name a few.
For two years running, legislation to help ease the cycle of suspensions and growing fines went nowhere in the legislature
So many people have lost their licenses in the State Capitol that prosecutors and judges have begun clinics to help people driver again.
“You have an entire disenfranchised population, and that’s what we’re trying to do on a grassroots basis, is give people a reasonable pathway to success.,” said State Attorney Jack Campbell.
Audley Campbell is one of just a few who left the clinic with a new license in hand. But, for most caught in the cycle, the road to a new license is long, complicated, and expensive.
Senator Jeff Brandes says he plans to introduce legislation for the third time when lawmakers begin meeting this fall.

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