Throughout his life, Robert Alexander has made many mistakes, and he has paid the price for them. After being charged with Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) thirteen times and having his license suspended, Robert was forced to ride a moped everywhere he went. No stranger to the prison system, he originally became acquainted with the Clinic as part of an Indiana Work Release program. Robert says, “I had to jump through a lot of hoops to be able go to Work Release … It was a rather unique thing. A lot of people had their eyes on me and a lot of people had to okay that situation.” During his time in the program, Robert told the staff he needed help with child support and custody issues. They told him about Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic. And so, back in 2011, Robert worked with future Executive Director Chris Purnell. At the time, they fought for custody, but lost. Robert says, “[Chris] did his job and I would have had my kids, but I made the wrong decision and I drank and drove and it was a game-changer. And I told Chris that too, I said, ‘You won this; I lost it.’”
Time passed and his family’s health started declining. Robert’s son suffered a mental breakdown right around the same time his mother needed to have surgery for lesions found on her kidneys. His father, whose leg was amputated, depended on Robert. Seeing the dire needs of his family changed something in him. Robert says, “When you wake up one day and you come home and you see the aging process happening on your parents and you look at your father and he has that cast of death … it snaps you around a little bit. You know that you’ve got to do this right now because there isn’t going to be another chance.” And so he took the chance that was in front of him. “I had to live my life differently,” he says. “I don’t hang around the people that I did hang around; I don’t go into bars anymore. I haven’t been into a bar since I’ve been home.”
Again, he contacted the Clinic—this time for assistance with getting his license back. From the beginning, a favorable outcome was unlikely, but Robert knew he had to try. After passing various Driver Safety tests, and with the help of his attorney, Robert was able to submit a Waiver of Reinstatement Fees, which the court granted. This was followed by submitting a request for Specialized Driving Privileges. “It was a long process—it was a year long—and whatever my attorney told me to do, I did,” he says. “Six months ahead of time he told me to start an insurance policy and begin showing a pattern of making payments, although I couldn’t drive. I didn’t question it and I did it. The Prosecutor was floored over that.”
Finally, just over one month ago, Robert received word from the Clinic that he passed all BMV tests and could drive legally again. Now, working maintenance for a dealership in Noblesville, Robert has the freedom to keep his tools with him in his own car as he drives to different job sites. “I mean, this is like a miracle,” he says. “I had three active suspensions. A five-year, a ten-year, and a lifetime suspension. The odds were against this ever happening.” He credits the incredible result to his attorney and wants as many other people as possible to know about the Clinic. He says, “I am continuously telling people who I know—who are in my situation or who have problems and don’t know what to do—I often lead them to you guys.”
For more information about Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic, please visit our website.