Marie Odolphe is frightened to relive that day in July.
“I'm terrified but I try not to think about it,” she said. “I actually left my home early that morning telling my kids that I would be right back, but I never came back.”
Odolphe went in for a court hearing after getting caught driving with a suspended license. And she ended up in handcuffs.
“I was scared too and embarrassed at the same time 'cause I didn't want my kids to see that.”
She had racked up red light camera tickets that she couldn't pay back. That got her license suspended. Then, she got caught driving without a license several times.
“I know I shouldn't have been driving, but I had to do what I had to do in order to live, to get by, to go to work and stuff like that, to be able to take care of my kids and pay my bills.”
After spending 30 days in jail, she no longer has a job.
“It completely set me back a whole lot. And still right now I'm still trying to find employment and I had a good job before that.”
Michelle Lambo is Odolphe 's awyer.
“They're punishing a poor person for being poor and making them more poor three days from now than they are right now,” she said.
Lambo was representing her the day the judge sentenced Marie to 60 days in jail.
“I was heartbroken,” she said. “After court I stood outside and my eyes did water because I know that she is a single mother and I know that she just started a new job … and 30 days, she’s going to lose her job, she’s could possibly lose her apartment and now everything that she's worked for.”
Odolphe is out on bond and appealing so she doesn't have to serve the rest of her sentence. Her kids still talk about that month she was away from them this past summer
“They were like, ‘Mommy, when you went, oh my God, we thought you was never gonna come home. It felt like forever.’”
Lambo says the law needs to change.
“I definitely think that people are going to jail because they cannot afford to pay,” she said.
She has too many clients who are at a disadvantage before the law because of how much money they have.
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