New pilot program aims to keep traffic offenders out of the courts

A photo of a pickup carrying about 25 mattresses in its bed.

There’s a new program aimed at keeping people with low-level driving offenses out of the criminal justice system Colorado private investigators should know about. The program is part of JeffCo’s First Judicial District Attorney’s Office overall diversion system called Pathways.

It aims to reduce court backlogs caused by large numbers of Colorado cases involving people charged with driving infractions while their licenses are suspended or revoked. Driving under restraint, which is the legal term for driving with a suspended/revoked license, is the most common charge against people in Jefferson and Gilpin counties.This is according to a recent article about the new traffic offense program in The Colorado Sun.

The traffic offender diversion program offers an alternative option to resolve offenses rather than going through the criminal justice system.  Pathways aims to connect people accused of low-level, non-violent crimes with the resources, treatment and the social support. This is often needed to address the underlying factors that may be in play. 

The diversion program has been hailed as a way to help people get back on track rather than adding to existing struggles, often financial, that can entangle them in the criminal justice system. Participants may qualify for the program following an evaluation of their risk level.

Frees up court resources

Another goal of the program is to help clear these low-level traffic infractions out of the court system. This frees resources and money spent on those cases for more serious and pressing crimes.  Pathways also offers substance-abuse counseling and help for drivers seeking to regain their license and car insurance.

The Safe and Licensed Driver Program, launched in September, provides opportunity to resolve issues before the offender goes to court. A suspended license can be reinstated and/or traffic charges are typically dismissed or lowered to a lesser charge if all requirements are met, including paying fines and attending court-ordered classes.  

This is a significant change from the the First District’s previous diversion program, which required a guilty plea before participation.

Less Documentation

Of course, for Colorado private investigators, the new diversion program means less documentation about an investigative subject’s potential criminal history.  For civil litigation related to traffic accidents, records of involved drivers can be important, but they’re not the only factor.  Court records are a great source of information for private investigators, but usually only part of the story. It sounds like this program might help people with low-level misdemeanors get their lives back on track. The benefit of saving resources to bring swifter justice to more serious crimes will hopefully improve results and lower costs.

Since 2017, the First Judicial District Attorney’s Office processed more than 35,000 cases involving people ticketed for driving under restraint or driving with no proof of insurance! Stay safe out there, friends and call us when you need to know everything there is to know, and you need to know it now!

Nancy Kristof
Nancy Kristof

Nancy is a writer, editor and communications professional nearly 30 years of experience. Originally from the east coast, she's lived in Colorado since 2004 and owns her own communications consulting business and supports Ross Investigators as an information gatherer, blogger and editor.

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