Personal Narrative: Joseph

Joseph is a capable driver, who is dependent on society and the kindness of friends and family for transportation, solely due to fines and fees. Joseph’s involvement with law enforcement that led to a suspended license was the result of a DUI for smoking marijuana in 2014. Five years later, his license has still not been reinstated. This is largely due to the extreme financial cost associated with a DUI conviction. In addition to court fees, the DMV also charged him expensive and ever accruing fees arising from his DUI during his incarceration.

Post incarceration, he has yet to set up a payment plan, citing lack of employment with a wage that would allow him to begin the process of paying off his debts to petition for a reinstated driver’s license.

He is angry and frustrated that five years after he was pulled over for a DUI and subsequently lost years of his life as a free a member of society due to our criminal justice system, he is still barred from the flexibility a driver’s license grants. If he is running 5 minutes late, the public transportation he relies on to get to and from his job may not get him to his place of employment on time. He cannot sit for a CDL exam to increase his earning potential. He cannot drive to the grocery store.

With little income and even less time, he has driven without a license a handful of times for emergency situations. Recently he had to travel out of state for a family emergency. His child’s mother was too ill to drive herself and Joseph felt there was no other viable option but to attempt the trip himself. On this occasion he was pulled over while driving without a license, making the odds he will work towards getting it reinstated that much more unlikely.