MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Shelby County court system is hosting clinics for people who have been affected by unpaid court fees, giving hope to those stuck trying to play catch-up.

Since 1986, Ivan Wilson has been in a constant fight to get his driving record cleared. He lost his license because of past charges and court fees that kept adding up.

“Just getting tickets back to back and things will linger on you from your past. Then I had to start paying more and more fees and at one point I had to pay $8,100 to get my license back,” Wilson said. “It was hard to keep up and to catch up.”

Ivan Wilson’s story is like so many others who come through these courts in Memphis. And when they can’t get their court fees caught up, their license can’t be re-instated.

“Individuals go through, you know, traffic citations and they feel that, hey, I don’t need to pay. I can just, you know, continue driving in my rearview mirror and things like that,” said Lawrence Johnson with General Sessions Court Clerk Joe Brown’s office. “And they can they try it, you know, but eventually it will catch back up.”

For the last few years, they have put on court costs and expungement clinics to give Memphians a fresh start.

The goal is to remove barriers that keep citizens from going on with their lives, holding down employment, and supporting themselves and their families.

While at the clinic, they meet with a judge who can remove their court costs and work on expunging or clearing their records. Their clinics handle only General Session Court cases, not criminal ones.

“We can guarantee that we will take a look at your file and do the best that we can to be able to help you along the way,” Johnson said.

In fact, over three years, General Sessions Court has helped more than 300 people with their court costs and expungement clinics.

“So this is something that can allow people to be able to continue to work comfortably, go to school, go to church, do all the day-to-day life things that you need to take care of,” Johnson said.

Court officials say some leave the event with their licenses in hand and a true second chance, like what Wilson was given. He is now a manager on a job where he drives trucks and rail cars with a clear driver’s license.

“I am a living witness it will work,” Wilson said. “I’m thankful and grateful that I was able to get a new start.”

General Sessions Court is partnering with the Department of Safety and Access to Justice for the next expungement clinic on August 12th at Southbrook Mall. It’s free, but you must register by July 15.

You can click here to register for the clinic.