Jason Smith’s only license suspension stemmed from a ticket for having two broken car lights. Following the police stop, he never received anything in the mail with information regarding how to pay the ticket or the date and time of his court date. However, about nine months after he was stopped, Smith was shocked and confused when he received a letter stating that a default judgment was entered against him, he owed the court approximately $850, and his license was suspended. He never knew how much the base fine was but now he would have to pay almost a thousand dollars. Smith tried calling the Suffolk County Traffic Court and made multiple visits to the courthouse to inquire about a payment plan or working off his debt by performing community service but he was told nothing could be done. He would have to pay the lump sum which he knew he could not afford to do any time soon, especially since he had been unemployed since around the time he was stopped. The stress of this situation drove Smith to start seeing a therapist because he felt like a dark cloud was constantly hanging over him.
In April 2019, Smith was stopped by the police and he got a ticket for driving on a suspended license. Shortly after that, he received a letter stating that it would cost $205 to reinstate his license. This was the first beacon of hope he experienced throughout this ordeal so he was excited about the possibility of taking a step towards resolving this situation. He scraped together the money to send in for the sum but it wasn’t long before Smith got another letter that contradicted what the first one said: he would have to pay the $850 in full before his license could be reinstated. Smith was confused and devastated to find out that he hadn’t made any progress at all and he was right back to square one.