Muni court to hold BMV amnesty workshop
Workshop reduces or waives fees for reinstatement
By Joe Gorman
It is a commonly known fact one of the most prevalent traffic offenses in the city is driving without a valid license.
Now, those who have a suspended license can have a chance to get their license back at the municipal court as the court and clerk of courts office hosts a Bureau of Motor Vehicle Reinstatement Workshop from noon to 4 p.m. Friday.
One of the things that hampers people with a suspended license are the reinstatement fees, especially drivers who have multiple suspensions on their licenses, court officials say. Those fees pile on top of each other and could force a person to pay thousands of dollars to get their license back.
“It’s just a revolving door,” said Judge Renee DiSalvo. “They [suspended drivers] have to make a decision: Do we pay rent or reinstatement fees?”
Under the amnesty program, people who are eligible can take advantage of a six-month program that could reduce their fees or have them all waived in certain instances.
The cases also take a lot of space on the court’s docket, Judge DiSalvo said. She said on one recent Monday, 12 of the 30 cases before her were for people cited for driving with a suspended license.
David Magura of the court’s probation department said representatives from other social-service agencies will be on hand as well to see if they can provide assistance in helping people clear up their reinstatement fees.
“Hopefully, we can get all the [license] blocks removed by the time you get out the door,” Magura said.
Magura said someone who does not have a pending court case, but still has a suspended license, can take part in the amnesty.
Judge DiSalvo, who was a defense attorney before then-Gov. John Kasich appointed her to the court last year to replace Judge Elizabeth Kobly who retired, said not having a valid license keeps people from either getting a job or getting a better job because they are afraid to take it if it means they have to drive. She said that was the case for several of her clients.
Often, people get their first or only exposure to the court system through municipal court, Judge DiSalvo said. She said she wants to help defendants as much as possible to keep those people from coming back.
“When people get valid [driver’s licenses], they stay valid once they get it,” Judge DiSalvo said.
The court is in the City Hall Annex building, 10 W. Front St.