Monday, July 30, 2018

City Council to Help Residents Get Licenses Reinstated

Posted By on Mon, Jul 30, 2018 at 1:09 PM


The Memphis City Council will host an event Tuesday to give about 600 Memphians the chance to get back on the road legally with reinstated driver’s licenses.

As a part of the city council’s MLK50 initiative, the council allocated about $600,000 for the Driver’s License Reinstatement and Diversion Amnesty program. Through the program, Memphis drivers in the Drive-while-you-pay program, as well as those with suspended and cancelled licenses, will receive amnesty.

The General Sessions court clerk randomly selected 600 residents who meet a list of general criteria to gather at the the Benjamin L. Hooks library on Tuesday to work with council members and the city clerk’s office to have their license reinstated.

City council chairman Berlin Boyd said the goal is to reduce the number of people driving on Memphis streets with a suspended or revoked license who run the risk of getting pulled over, going to jail, or incurring more fines.

“It was amazing to us how many calls we received,” Boyd said. “Hearing some of the stories that people have told us about how impactful this would be in their lives has been really encouraging.”

There are a number of residents who owe minimal fees to have their license reinstated, but don’t know how or have the means to pay, Boyd said. There is a cycle revolving around revoked licenses and Boyd anticipates the program will help reduce the cycle of crime and recidivism. It will also make it easier for people to get to access jobs, he said, as not having a driver’s license can hinder being gainfully employed. “We will see a great return on investment because we’re changing lives.”

Ed Stanton Jr. of the General Sessions court said every year in Memphis close to 40,000 licenses are revoked and only half are reinstated. This leaves about 20,000 drivers with no license who Stanton said could likely end up being arrested. The idea is to keep these drivers out of the system, he said.

Boyd said in addition to the 600 residents selected for the program, there is still a “large list” of people out there who need their licenses reinstated. For now, there are no plans to involve other drivers apart from the initial 600, but Boyd said it’s something the council may consider in the future.

“We tried to cast a net and capture as many people as we possibly could,” Boyd said. “We may have the opportunity to try to do something like this again.”

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