JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Andre Sapp is trying to put his past behind him but has a $74,000 fine to remind him and keep him from driving legally.
"I'm not trying to get no pity party or anything," said Sapp,"I'm just trying to get my license so I can go back to work."
Sapp served nearly three years in prison for cocaine trafficking and is now trying to start his life over, but he said the system has him in a legal maze.
"It is really hindering me," he said.
In 2007, Sapp, 48, was stopped in Brevard County with more than 28 grams of cocaine in his vehicle.
In 2009, he entered a plea agreement; at the time the state imposed a fifty-thousand dollar fine.
"They were expecting payments while I was incarcerated," said Sapp.
In prison and unemployed, Sapp failed to pay the fine. Brevard County turned it over to a collection agency, with interest and penalty, he now owes $74,363.80.
It was reported to the DMV and the state suspended his driver's license indefinitely.
Sapp said he wants to be a productive citizen but without a driver's license, he said, it is difficult to find a job.
"I'm trying to get my life back but every corner I turn it is like they're working against me," said Sapp," I'm basically just trying to live right and do the right thing."
Susan Cohen, a criminal defense attorney, said they handle a fair share of driver license complaints.
"We get calls from people all the time who have had problems with their drivers license," said Cohen.
Cohen said the Sapp case is a bit unusual, however under Florida laws there are things he can do.
His options are:
-pay the fine
-set up repayment plan
-petition the courts for relief
Cohen said it is too late for the first two.
"At this point it is an indefinite suspension unless he can petition the court," she said.
The suspension means Cohen would have to go back to Brevard County. He said the irony is the system which is designed to make someone pay for the crimes they commit is also being counter-productive.
"To keep him from driving because he can't afford to pay his fines," said Cohen,"appears to be counter productive for what our ultimate goal should be making productive citizens."
The lack of insurance and ignoring traffic tickets are just a few. Cohen said to petition the courts, Sapp will need the help of an attorney.
She said there's something we can all learn about driver's license; never ignore anything that can impact it.
There are many ways to get your license suspended.
-Giving False Information on a License Application
-Getting too many points
-Refusing to comply with state Laws
-Refusing a Blood Alcohol Test
First Coast News