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New task force aims to help drivers with suspended licenses in Miami-Dade

MIAMI – Marq Mitchell received a ticket. He couldn’t afford to pay for car insurance. He couldn’t afford to pay for Miami-Dade County court costs fees. His driver’s license was suspended.

Mitchell couldn’t fix the problem for about five years. It’s a defeating cycle. For some drivers, poverty is to blame. A license suspension makes it impossible for some to get to work.

“If you can’t get to work, you drive your family into poverty,” said Miami-Dade Commissioner Eileen Higgins.

Officials estimate there were more than 630,000 drivers in Miami-Dade County whose licenses have been suspended due to unpaid fines. On Tuesday, a new task force met for the first time to find a solution.

Higgins, who represents District 5, and Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Steven Leifman want affordable payment plans and the convenience of being able to manage accounts online.

Higgins and Leifman are members of the county’s new driver’s license suspension task force. Leifman, the chair of the task force, said there are $320 million in 1.4 million unpaid tickets.

“If you ever want to see a grown man cry, come to our court as we are able to help someone get their license back for the first time in years,” Leifman said about the life-changing effects of getting a driver’s license reinstated.

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About the Author:

Amy Viteri is an Emmy Award-winning journalist who joined Local 10 News in September 2015. She's currently an investigative reporter and enjoys uncovering issues facing South Florida communities. A native of the Washington, D.C., area, she's happy to be back in South Florida, where she earned a masters degree at the University of Miami.