Mesa woman with suspended license blames court

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By Jim Carr By Jim Carr

MESA, Ariz. -- Elena De La Fuente says being able to get around the Valley is important.

“It means freedom," she said. "I need my car to be able to do everyday things.”

Everyday things like going to the gym, which is where Elena was going to when she was pulled over by a Mesa police officer in September.

“He stopped me," she said. "He gave me a speeding ticket so it was my fault."

Elena says she could have paid the ticket or she could have gone to driving school to have the ticket dismissed.

She chose driving school.

“I did my school ahead of time," she said. "The school submitted their certificate of completion, but the court did not process it on time."

Failing to process her paperwork made it look like Elena didn't take care of that ticket. So MVD suspended her license, something Elena was unaware of.

To make matters worse, she was stopped again by police who cited her for driving on the suspended license.

Elena says she came to court to explain the mix-up to the judge, but the judge would not have any of this crazy story.

“She told me that if I plead guilty that day, the problem would be resolved,” Elena explained. “So I did that and the next thing I know I'm getting a restricted license notice.”

Elena says it went from bad to worse.

She was on a restricted license all because she says the courts did not process her driving school paperwork.
  
“Never in my wildest dreams would I think that it would turn into the nightmare that it has turned into,” Elena said.

3 On Your Side got involved and contacted the court to find out how such a mess could happen.

Well, it turns out the court processed the driving school documents just fine.

However, they discovered Elena had received a photo radar ticket just a few days before and because she had two tickets, the driving school only took care of one of them, the other outstanding ticket is what led to a suspended license, and ultimately a restricted license.

"The stress of driving now, I don't even like to drive because I am always nervous and always concerned,” she said.

Elena is still driving on a restrictive driver's license because of this situation.

Considering the circumstances, she's seeing what she can do to get that restriction lifted.