Texas Fair Defense Project had a busy 2018. We served as co-counsel on three different lawsuits in Texas challenging bail and other pretrial practices that punish Texans simply for being poor. We have been advocating in Austin, the largest city in the country without an adult public defender office, to build a first-rate public defender office. We welcomed a new Executive Director.
And we expanded our direct services to represent hundreds of people who have had their driver licenses suspended because they cannot afford traffic ticket and related debt.
For many of us, a traffic ticket is an annoying financial burden. But for millions of Texans who live in poverty or paycheck to paycheck, a traffic ticket can be a major life disruption.
Today, more than 1.5 million Texans have their driver’s licenses suspended because they cannot afford to pay their traffic tickets or related debt. This debt also comes with a threat of arrest and imprisonment. In fact, thousands of Texans are jailed each year simply because they cannot afford to pay outstanding tickets and fees.
In 2018, TFDP clinics and staff attorneys served more than 650 people with such debt, helping discharge or waive hundreds of thousands of dollars they could not afford to pay. Yet we can only represent so many people.
There are millions of Texans for whom we do not yet have the resources to support. We have plans to scale our programs and expand our geographic reach, but we need your financial help at this critical time.
With your donation, we can increase our services to reach more people in 2019. A $100 donation will pay for a clinic attendee; $300 will sponsor individual representation by a TFDP attorney; $5000 will sponsor a driver's license clinic, where we can help dozens of people at a time. Please join us in fighting for a Texas criminal justice system that treats people fairly, with the dignity and respect each person deserves.