Latrice lost her license for a traffic violation she did not commit. As if she didn’t already have enough stress in her life, she was pulled over on her way to the hospital, where her young son was a patient for many months. Because she traveled daily between work and the hospital, frequently sleeping in her car, her car was full of her belongings and clothes. She could not immediately find her license and registration to show the police officer. Although the officer verified that her license and registration were current, he ticketed Latrice for not having them in the car.
She went to court right away, but the police had delayed filing it with the court and the ticket hadn’t been processed yet. She didn’t get a notice by mail and found that her license had been suspended when she tried to renew her insurance a few months later. When she returned to court, she was told she would have to pay $1,400 to get her license back because fees had been added due to her failure to appear in court.
The collection agency required Latrice to make a down payment of $700 before she could enter into a payment plan, but she couldn’t pay $700. She filed a good cause form with the court to show that she had a reason for missing the court date, but it was denied. Finally, someone at the collection agency advised her to contact civil legal aid.
With the help of civil legal aid, Latrice submitted documents and went to court with proof of her son’s hospitalization and her lack of income. The judge waived the fine and reinstated her license.