LAKELAND, Fla. – February 28, 2018 – Florida Rural Legal Services (FRLS) has started a new initiative to help low-income residents of South Central Florida get their driver licenses restored after they were suspended or revoked simply because they were too poor to pay financial obligations to the courts.
FRLS’s new Drive to Work Project is focusing on providing education, advice, direct representation in assisting individuals deprived of lawful transportation needed to get to and from work, medical appointments, care for sick or disabled family members, and take their children to after-school activities.
The project is funded by a grant from Florida Bar Foundation and will pay for two full-time attorneys and one part-time legal professional who will work with low-income residents and individuals touched by the criminal justice system residing in the 10th and 19th Judicial circuit including Polk, Highlands, Hardee, St. Lucie, Martin, Okeechobee and Indian River Counties
Close to 91,000 Florida driver licenses were suspended for failure to pay court-ordered financial obligations in 2015-2016 alone. Florida laws suspending or revoking driver licenses for failure to pay costs and fines has a devastating impact on people with little or no ability to pay.
Through the Drive to Work Project, FRLS will work to improve economic opportunities by assisting people in obtaining affordable payment plans which will allow them to have their driver’s license restored.
FRLS will partner on the project with Southern Legal Counsel in Gainesville, with its 40 years of experience working to make positive, systemic change to achieve social, economic, racial, and environmental justice.
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