DJC partners on “Road to Restoration” clinics to restore drivers licenses and interrupt the cycle of poverty

Photo from the Road to Restoration clinic in Dearborn, courtesy of Press & Guide.

Photo from the Road to Restoration clinic in Dearborn, courtesy of Press & Guide.

Three DJC attorneys – Rubina Mustafa, A.J. Hamilton, and Dan Hofman – participated in a “Road to Restoration” clinic on March 19, 2022 at ACCESS in Dearborn. 28 individuals attended the clinic to receive the free legal support needed to get their driver’s licenses reinstated, according to Press & Guide. 

DJC trained volunteer pro bono attorneys, who helped attendees review their driving records and identify barriers to restoring their driving privileges. DJC partnered with the Secretary of State’s Office, the Attorney General’s Office, DTE Energy, and Miller Canfield to organize and run the event. 

After our legislative victory last year, hundreds of thousands of Michiganders whose licenses were unjustly suspended – for things like not being able to pay ticket fines or afford court fees – became eligible to get them reinstated. 

Most Michiganders can renew their licenses online with the Michigan Department of State, but many of our community members need legal support to fully restore their licenses. 
DJC will continue partnering on the free clinics all spring to meet the needs of our community and get them back on the roads safely. Future clinics will take place on:

  • April 13 at Goodwill (3111 Grand River Ave, Detroit)

  • April 28 at Mt. Zion Church (188 W Muskegon Ave, Muskegon)

  • May 10 at Brown Chapel Church (1043 W. Michigan Ave, Ypsilanti)

  • May 19 New Faith Temple Church (1701 Kalamazoo Ave SE, Grand Rapids)

With driving on a suspended license being the third most common reason for arrests that lead to jail, DJC’s advocacy at the state level and direct services at the local level are targeting the heart of a carceral system that criminalizes poverty.

As detailed in our Highway Robbery report, historically white suburbs fund their courts and city governments by targeting low-income and Black Detroiters commuting there for work by pulling them over for minor traffic offenses. 

These individuals have “paid for a car, got insurance, paid to fill their tank and after all that can’t afford the ticket they got, so they can’t drive,” said Khyla Craine, deputy legal director for the Department of State.
While inability to pay for ticket fines or court fees will no longer result in license suspensions, attorneys in DJC’s Legal Services and Advocacy Practice will continue participating in the “Road to Restoration” clinics as one way to repair the harm caused by the old laws.

Those eligible to attend the clinics may sign up online at the Secretary of State’s website.