Sharon McGee was 16 years old when she was stopped by a police officer and ticketed for not completely stopping at a stop sign. At the time, McGee was working a minimum wage job and living on her own. She couldn’t afford to pay the ticket right away and decided that when she eventually got the money she would pay it. Later on that same year, McGee was pulled over again and this time for speeding even though she is adamant that she wasn’t. She was driving in a wealthy neighborhood and she believed she and her friend were targeted by the officer because they asked, “What are you doing around here?” She immediately knew that she couldn’t afford to pay for the second ticket either considering she was still working a minimum wage job and wasn’t getting any additional financial support from her family or government benefits. McGee eventually forgot that she even had these outstanding tickets seeing as how she wasn’t driving regularly and both times she was ticketed, she was driving someone else’s car.
A couple of years later, McGee got pulled over because the muffler in the car she was driving was too loud and the officer informed her that her license was suspended and issued her three tickets, including one for driving on a suspended license. She went to court and determined that she owed about $1000 for all of her citations. Just like before, McGee simply couldn’t afford to pay what she owed and she put off paying them. Following that, McGee got pulled over again and ticketed for driving on a suspended license. She was arrested and spent 15 days in jail.
Years later, McGee had a daughter and she had to walk a mile and take three buses just to get her child to school. When she could finally afford to get a car, she remembered that she still had those tickets on her driving record. McGee’s total debt had ballooned to $2000 because of the additional fees tacked on throughout the amount of time that has elapsed. She couldn’t borrow the money from anyone in her family so she eventually humbled herself to ask a friend for the money. That’s the only way she was able to reinstate her license and start driving again.