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Personal Narrative: Marlo Knapp

At 36 years old Marlo Knapp recently moved from Clearwater, FL to the small panhandle town of Molino, FL. She moved in with her parents in an effort to save money to start to build a foundation for herself and her four kids. She says that the key to that foundation is getting her suspended driver’s license back. Her license has been suspended since March of 2010 due to unpaid fines and fees that she owes in Escambia County totaling near $7,000 stemming from a mix of both traffic and criminal cases.

Marlo is currently getting assistance from an attorney with the ACLU to assist her with obtaining a reasonable payment plan from the clerk’s office, something she says she has been unable to do on her own in the past when she has attempted to. She says depending on who she talks to when she calls, the down payment and monthly payment amounts vary. She said she has never signed a payment plan because she did not want to commit to a plan that she knew she would be unable to keep up with the payments on because she knows that she would not be able to get another payment plan if she defaulted.

Marlo says that having her driver’s license would change her and her kid’s lives. She has served time in prison twice for felonies for driving while license suspended. She says that she continued to drive in the past because she is a single mom and she needed to attend to the needs of her kids, including getting them to daycare, extracurricular activities and to the grocery store. She currently works in a small country restaurant in Molino because she can bike or walk there. She was recently offered a job working at an attorney’s office making three times more per month than she makes now but had to decline the offer because of her lack of transportation due to her license suspension. Marlo said in the past that she lost hope because it was hard to get jobs but she is hopeful that with the assistance of her attorney she will get a reasonable payment plan, get her license back and be able to obtain a better paying job.

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