By Chris Young, WMNF

Each year, thousands face misdemeanor cases related to driver’s licenses. Tampa religious leaders gathered in a park across from the Sheriff’s Office Thursday to advocate for reduced penalties for first-time traffic offenders.

Bernice Powell Jackson is a pastor at First United Church of Tampa. She says misdemeanor offenses can leave lasting effects.

“They’re not always put in handcuffs and taken to the jail, but even if they get a notice to appear – that’s an arrest record.”

Jackson joined other faith leaders from the Hillsborough Organization for Progress and Equality at Centennial Park in Ybor. They want the Adult Pre-Arrest Diversion Program, or APAD, to be used to keep driver’s license-related offenders from the criminal justice system.

Chris Kravitz is the pastor of Waters Avenue Church.

“Instead of branding someone for life, our decision makers can come together to expand our APAD program to include these kinds of traffic offenses so that thousands can avoid the criminal justice system.”

The small group walked to the Sheriff’s Office in Ybor to deliver over 250 letters urging Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister to take action on the issue.

However, They were told that the sheriff was not there at the time.

View the original story here.