The Boulder County District Attorney’s Office has launched a new diversion program for people facing court cases and fines for driving without a license and /or insurance.
The Driver’s License Diversion Program is designed “to ensure drivers take immediate steps to properly address issues with their license and insurance while reducing the criminal justice footprint in their lives,” according to a news release. “Individuals who accept responsibility and provide proof of a valid license, insurance policy, and registration will have their cases dismissed. This will apply to both Boulder and Longmont cases.”
In years past, such cases would linger in the criminal justice system, causing individuals to have to return to court on multiple occasions while, possibly, continuing to drive illegally, according to the release.
“The additional fines and fees for individuals charged with offenses only perpetuate the challenge for unlicensed drivers, particularly for the low-income members of our community. It is in the best interest of all drivers to ensure that other drivers are licensed and insured,” the DA’s office stated in the release. “... This diversion program will increase the efficiency in resolving these cases and help people get their licenses back faster.”
The DA’s office handles approximately 500 cases per year that would possibly qualify for the program, public information officer Shannon Carbone said in an email.
“Before this program launched, fines and costs would range, on average, from $85 to $500 depending on the particular offense(s). So, this program will improve traffic safety, while significantly reducing the impact for those individuals in the justice system,” Carbone said.
The DA’s office will identify certain low-level charges for the Driver’s License Diversion Program. Individuals must have been eligible for their license at the time of the offense or within 30 days to be eligible for diversion, according to the release.
Cases involving accidents or crashes are not eligible.
Eligible cases will be identified as soon as the DA’s office receives a summons and a designated member of the office will contact eligible individuals to “expedite the process” and enroll them in the program, according to the release.
People unable to successfully complete diversion will have to go to court to resolve their cases.
“It is our goal to ensure the safety of all drivers on the road and we believe this is best accomplished by quickly compelling everyone to obtain a valid license and insurance,” Chief Trial Deputy District Attorney Christine Rinke stated in the release. “In our experience, the financial hurdles many citizens must overcome to obtain a valid license are significant and it is our goal to increase community safety without contributing to the cycle of these financial burdens.”
District Attorney Michael Dougherty in the release stated, “I appreciate Chief Deputy DA Christine Rinke working with our Diversion team to develop this important and innovative program. It will ensure the right outcome in these cases, but with far less time and financial burden for the individuals involved. It will expedite the process for every driver to have a license and insurance while limiting the impact of the criminal justice system on their lives. Traffic safety is a priority for this office.”