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Driving Is Still Important

(Even When We Have Very Few Places to Go)

What do criminal defense lawyers do when the criminal justice system slows to a crawl? At the Marc Lopez Law Firm, they spend a lot of their time on driver’s license issues. Attorneys Marc Lopez and Matt Kroes recently discussed suspensions, solutions, and situations where you don’t need to retain a lawyer. What follows is a lightly edited transcript of their conversation.

Marc Lopez
Matt! What have you been keeping busy with?

Matt Kroes
Oh, man! Ever since this whole quarantine came about, some of the criminal hearings have been going off a little bit just to try and make sure that we maintain social distancing. So we’ve really kinda redoubled our efforts here towards driving privileges and getting people driving legally during this hard hard time, knowing that it’s gonna be very important for people to be driving once we all come through this.

Marc Lopez
Yeah, I know, even though we’re facing a stay-at-home order, people still have to go to grocery stores—still have to do all sorts of things—maybe even go to the doctor and whatnot. So we understand driving is important—and luckily, so do these judges and prosecutors. So, Matt—anybody watching this—if they have a 10-year suspension, can we help them?

Matt Kroes
We sure can. Absolutely.

Marc Lopez
What if somebody has a five-year suspension?

Matt Kroes
Same thing. Absolutely, we can help.

Marc Lopez
And then, what if some unlucky individuals have a lifetime license suspension from mistakes they made way back in the day? Can we help those guys out, too?

Matt Kroes
We sure can, and—excuse my pun here—you can bet your lifetime suspension we can help you.

Marc Lopez
I love that pun. And then, Matt—we’ve got people calling up, Hey we got a 90-day suspension for getting caught without insurance. Can we help those guys out, too?

Matt Kroes
We absolutely can, and one of the great—great‘s probably a bad word—but one of the things that’s come about with this whole pandemic is it humanizes the whole process a little bit more. So some of the prosecutors—in fact, everyone I’ve dealt with—they’ve kinda gone above and beyond a little bit to try and help our clients get back on the road. 

Normally, the process is: We have to go in and have a hearing. Now a lot of times, that hearing gets kicked out 30 or 45 days. Now we’re getting these prosecutors to agree to a lot of these driving privileges to get these people back on the road. 

The one thing to remember, though, with specialized driving privileges—they have to last a minimum of 180 days, at least until July, when the law changes. But as we sit here right now, 180-day minimum. So if you’ve got a 90-day suspension, we can get you driving, but it’s gonna be on a restricted license for three months longer than the actual suspension itself.

Marc Lopez
Now, Matt, we get a lot of calls on driver’s licenses, and, sometimes it’s not necessarily a 10- year, 5-year, 90-day, or whatever—sometimes people just have various issues. Anybody that calls this law firm—what is our commitment to them?

Matt Kroes
Well, you’re 100% correct. There are some people that we just cannot help, and that’s not because the license isn’t suspended for a reason or not—a lot of times it’s, Hey, pay this ticket, pay that ticket. Or, you know, you’ve got some kind of outstanding judgment that you have to get paid. You don’t need an attorney to settle those—you just need to get those paid. So what we do—no matter what—every single person that calls this firm for driver’s license issues, we’re gonna want to take a look at your driving record—your BMV record. That’s really quick and really easy, and we’ll be able to get you a game plan, one way or another.

Marc Lopez
You know, we spend a lot of time doing that—people calling us—and, it’s not like a magic button you push. Sometimes people just need a game plan, and you and our driver’s license clerk, Mr. Lang, have really put a lot of effort—people literally call us all the time, they say, Thanks so much for helping us. We didn’t even pay you anything. Well, hey—you know, we want to make sure everyone can drive and then pay it forward. I hope nobody ever needs our criminal services, but if they do—give us a call. 

Matt, right now, there are some amnesty programs, there are some ways to cut fees. So if— sometimes when people call us, and there’s not a clear SDP issue, sometimes we can help them with those fees and fines. So if you’re feeling overwhelmed with fees and fines, give us a call, and there are some ways that we can try to help you reduce those—or even negotiate on your behalf. Matt, any parting words for anybody who has a driver’s license issue and doesn’t know where to start?

Matt Kroes
Just give us a call. We’re happy to help. We love doing this stuff. We want to make sure everybody’s legal. When we come out of this on the other side—which we will—it’s gonna be really important. If you haven’t been able to drive—or you’ve been putting it off—give us a call. Let’s keep you driving during this time.

Marc Lopez
Awesome. Thanks for helping, Matt.

Matt Kroes
Later, buddy.