March 7, 2018
Walking out of the Chesterfield County Circuit Court, I watched a Drive-To-Work (DTW) client embrace his parents and talk excitedly about what he could do after the Judge granted his petition for a restricted drivers license. He would have new opportunities open to him now that he has the ability to not only transport himself to work, but to drive the company van and work more independently! The feeling of satisfaction that I felt, as a DTW volunteer, helping this client navigate the court system to regain partial driving privileges…and getting him closer to full reinstatement…was very refreshing!
As a volunteer attorney with the Drive-To-Work program I have had the privilege of assisting many clients regain their driving privileges. In most parts of Virginia, it is very difficult to acquire and retain employment if you can’t drive to work, as our public transportation system is extremely limited (with the exception of Northern Virginia). A valid drivers license not only creates opportunities for additional employment, but it also opens the door to better opportunities, especially for low-income citizens who may have fewer options for employment in their local communities.
There are a variety of reasons why a person can lose their drivers license in Virginia, many of which are unrelated to a driving offense. Court fines, drug related convictions, failure to pay child support, and civil judgments can all result in a suspension or revocation of a person’s license. None of these are an indication of the person’s ability to safely operate a vehicle, however, they may be treated the same way as a person who committed a driving related infraction (i.e., DUI, excessive speeding, driving on a suspended license or without insurance) that presents a hazard to the public.
My involvement with DTW had been so refreshing, that I jumped at the opportunity to support the organization when they expanded their services to work with the Virginia Department of Corrections. For the past two years, DTW has provided seminars to select inmates who are nearing release to explain how they can restore their driving privileges. This program offers a beacon of hope to these reentering citizens, as they look to fully engage in their communities, with “gainful employment” being an integral part of their “transition”.
The Capital One Legal Department continues to be an advocate of the Drive-To-Work program, with many of our attorneys volunteering their time throughout Virginia. Our leadership fully supports our engagement in this worthwhile program through allowing attorney volunteers to take the time to represent clients in court, present education seminars in DOC facilities, and my joining the Board of DTW, (an offer I humbly accepted) to continue to grow the DTW mission.
Kenneth T. Bailey, Esq.
Assistant General Counsel, Capital One
Drive-To-Work Board Member