Blanchard Community Law Clinic helps restore driver’s licenses in Robeson County

Photo of Blanchard Community Law Clinic drivers license restoration event in Robeson County

LUMBERTON, NORTH CAROLINA — In North Carolina, more than 1 million drivers have their licenses suspended for failing to pay fines.  For indigent persons, the fines incurred from traffic stops can be catastrophic.  Drivers who do not pay fines will have their license suspended until the fines are paid.  For many, this starts an unfortunate cycle.  Many people in North Carolina, especially in rural counties, rely on cars to travel.  Those with suspended licenses retain their need to travel in cars to work, to pick their children up, and to travel.  Because of this, many with suspended privileges continue to drive and incur more fines if pulled over.  A driver in this situation has already had their license suspended for failing to pay fines but incurs more fines for each violation.  This cycle is complex for indigent persons to escape without having their fines forgiven.  
The Blanchard Community Law Clinic (BCLC) at Campbell Law School, led by Professors Rick Glazier and Kristin Parks, assists individuals with driver’s license restoration.  Law students work with clients, area district attorneys, Legal Aid of North Carolina and the DMV to restore the licenses of North Carolinians.  Clinic students gain valuable experience drafting motions for appropriate relief and consulting with district attorneys.  
On Sept. 14,  the Blanchard Community Law Clinic participated in a Driver’s License Restoration and Expunction Clinic hosted by Legal Aid and the local Reentry Council in Lumberton in Robeson County. In Robeson County, one out of four people have their license suspended.  At this clinic, clients met with law students and Legal Aid attorneys to review their driving records and discuss possible routes to restoring the client’s driver’s license, Parks explained. 
“Local district attorneys were present and willing to cooperate with clients and clinic students, with the goal of having fewer motorists driving without a license,” she said. “Once a client’s infractions were dismissed by the district attorney, students met with local district and superior court judges to sign off on the dismissal.”
Following the district attorney and judge signing a motion for appropriate relief, students filed Form 307A on behalf of their clients to have their charges officially dismissed, Parks added.  “This action alerts the DMV that a driver is eligible to have their license reinstated,” she said. “For example, third-year law student Cameron Kelshaw worked with the ADA to assist his client with Motions for Appropriate Relief, which will allow his client to get his driving privileges back.”  
Photo of 3L Cameron Kelshaw with the ADA to assist his client with Motions for Appropriate Relief, which will allow him to get his driving prvileges back.
Photo of Blanchard Community Law Clinic drivers license restoration event in Robeson CountyFounded in 2016, the BCLC helps citizens move forward with their lives following incarceration and involvement with the criminal justice system among other types of legal matters including driver’s license restoration and landlord/tenant issues. In addition to StepUp Ministry, the clinic partners with other Triangle-area community nonprofits including Alliance Medical Ministry, the Raleigh Rescue Mission and Justice Served to provide free legal services to low-income individuals. 
As one of the school’s five pro-bono legal clinics, the work the BCLC is doing is made possible in part by the Bob and Pat Barker Second Chance Initiative. Pro bono criminal record expunction and driver’s license restoration efforts have been a mainstay of the clinic, which has helped some 1,600 individuals since it opened its doors. 
Since its founding in 1976, Campbell Law has developed lawyers who possess moral conviction, social compassion, and professional competence, and who view the law as a calling to serve others. Among its accolades, the school has been recognized by the American Bar Association (ABA) as having the nation’s top Professionalism Program and by the American Academy of Trial Lawyers for having the nation’s best Trial Advocacy Program. Campbell Law boasts more than 4,800 alumni, who make their home in nearly all 50 states and beyond. In 2023, Campbell Law is celebrating 45 years of graduating legal leaders and a 14 years of being located in a state-of-the-art facility in the heart of North Carolina’s Capital City.