Program helps veterans with free legal guidance

- James Broner, a Vietnam veteran, never imagined a ticket for a broken tail light would stop him in his tracks. "I couldn't afford the tickets because it was up there," said Broner.

Unpaid tickets, led to fines and more fines, he eventually lost his driver's license.

He got around by bus or rode his bike.

He had no help no recourse until he heard about a new outreach program for vets called "Veterans Outreach Court." 

Hillsborough Circuit  Judge Daryl Manning, an Army Veteran himself, is behind the program that helps veterans resolve fines and legal fees. "Veterans have served our country and they deserve to be helped as much as we can because when our country was in need, when our freedoms were in jeopardy, they were there," explained Judge Manning.

He wanted to make sure minor legal hiccups don't become major life obstacles. "Before they know it, a veteran or any citizen could be owing thousands of dollars when it was a small matter that they didn't pay, " said Judge Manning.

Fox 13 was there last year as Broner was taking part in the program.

He was able take care of his tickets and fines. "I got my license, I got my car,  I'm mobile.  I appreciate it, " said Broner.

And not just James Broner, other vets can get help too by attending a free event on Friday, November 3 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the James A. Haley Veterans Hospital Primary Care VA Annex, located at 13515 Lake Terrace Lane in Tampa. 

The deadline to register for the event is Friday, October 20, and registration is mandatory.

"This is not time for a hand out but a hand up," said Judge Manning.

Veterans can sign up for the program by visiting the clerk's website at www.hillsclerk.com. For questions about qualifications, call 813-277-1303.

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