PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Two local drivers had a big name in their corner as they look to get their licenses restored after facing hardships.
Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza joined partners from the Providence Driver’s License Restoration Program in court for a hearing Tuesday morning.
Judge Frank Caprio considered a request to waive fines and fees for the drivers who qualified for help.
To be eligible, applicants must:
- Be a Providence resident
- Have an income at or below 65% of the area median income
- Be eligible for identification documents, such as an ID, Social Security card, or birth certificate
Unhoused individuals are eligible to apply for the program. Applications are also evaluated for factors like financial need and ability to pay related expenses like car insurance.
Applicants do not qualify if their license was suspended for a moving violation that resulted in a felony conviction.
Noelle Pierce says she now just has two steps to take before she is able to get her license back, after not having it for 16 years.
“This is going to be a burden lifted off of my whole entire body, soul and mind, and everything,” she said. “It is going to open up a lot of opportunities for me and my family, so I am very grateful.”
More than 800 people have applied for support since the program launched in September. So far, the city says 60 licenses have been restored and fines have been reduced by almost $25,000.
The program provides case management, legal support, and financial aid to city residents whose licenses were suspended as a result of a missed traffic court hearing, unpaid fines from municipal or state court, and other monetary-related suspensions.
Care coordinators at OpenDoors and Amos House work directly with the R.I. Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to help participants navigate the process of reinstating their licenses, while also providing guidance and resources such as financial aid for fines or reinstatement fees.
In some circumstances, legal assistance from licensed attorneys and law students is also provided through the RI Center for Justice and the RWU Pro Bono Collaborative.
Those without internet access can obtain a paper application from OpenDoors or Amos House.