Backers tout program helping drivers get licenses reinstated

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Supporters of a program waiving or reducing reinstatement fees for Ohioans with suspended driver's licenses say nearly 77,000 people benefited from the program during a trial period.

A report released Wednesday by the Ohio Poverty Law Center and Southeastern Ohio Legal Services found the Reinstatement Fee Amnesty Initiative saved residents a combined $63 million over six months. The average waived was $1,270.

The groups are pushing the state to make the initiative permanent. It's part of a national effort to rethink the use of bail, bond, court costs and fees, which critics say disproportionately impact the poorest defendants.

Eligible offenders must be at least 18 months beyond their suspensions, have completed all court-ordered sanctions besides paying the reinstatement fees and not have committed a drug-, alcohol- or deadly weapon-related offense.

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