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Personal Narrative: John Griggs

John was arrested for driving with a suspended license in December 1999 and given $400 in court fines, fees, and costs. It wasn’t until February 2018 – nearly 20 years after he was originally arrested – that he finally completed his sentence by spending 20 days in jail to pay down his debt.

Personal Narrative: Michael (Florida)

Michael has been without a driver’s license since 2008. He was on a payment plan making payments on misdemeanor court fees he owed in Citrus County, Florida when an auto-draft of his checking account came one week early and Michael defaulted on his payment.

Personal Narrative: Amy Garrison

Amy Garrison 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, Garrison was working a minimum wage job and living on her own.

Personal Narrative: Lance Hartzog

Lance Hartzog's New York driver's license was suspended in 1993 and remained suspended for the duration of his incarceration. The court costs and other fines and fees accrued during this time. After his release from prison in Pennsylvania, he moved home with his wife and together, the two of them worked to pay off the fines. Hartzog was only working minimum wage when he first came home, making an already arduous process that much slower and even more tedious.

Personal Narrative: Joseph Fisher

Fisher'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 Lance expensive and ever accruing fees arising from his DUI during his incarceration.

Personal Narrative: Timothy Livingston

Timothy Livingston’s only license suspension stems 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, Livingston 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.

Personal Narrative: Chris S.

Chris S.’s driver’s license was suspended five times for failure to pay fines. He never received prior notice that his license was being suspended. He never had an opportunity to explain why it should not be suspended.

Personal Narrative: Kimberly S.

: Kimberly S. is a mother of three who battled to overcome drug addiction. She has been convicted of failure to pay 10 times in the last four years, each time incurring $450 to $670 in additional debt, and sentences of as much as 30 days in jail.

Personal Narrative: Anthony Bertrand

During the early morning of January 2, 2019, Bertrand was pulled over for his headlight and the officer informed him that his license was suspended. Bertrand had no idea that his license was suspended and later found out that it was because he had unpaid tickets from 5 to 6 years ago.
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