Clallam County District Court II in Forks is initiating a new Relicensing Program designed to assist suspended drivers regain their license and insurance and pay their outstanding fines. This is the first program of its type available in Clallam County.
Judge Erik Rohrer described the program as “a way to help people get their licenses back so they can work and be productive members of our community, while still holding them accountable for their actions.” He went on to say “we believe this will be a positive change in the way our court handles these types of cases. Traditionally, the focus has been on punishing people, then sending them on their way without their licenses and hoping they don’t re-offend by driving. This program shifts the court’s focus to helping people get themselves out of the cycle of repeat driving offenses. This is a problem-solving court.”
The program is for anyone charged with driving with a suspended license who wants to be able to drive legally. Such individuals petition the court for entry into the Relicensing Program. If approved, they pay a non-refundable $100 fee to participate and their ability to drive is reinstated.
The court then works with that person to set up an individualized Relicensing Plan. That plan typically involves paying unpaid fines from previous cases and addressing other barriers to regaining a license, such as obtaining substance abuse treatment or SR-22 insurance.
When participants successfully complete the program, the court amends the original criminal charge to a traffic infraction with a relatively small fine and court costs.
While the program is primarily designed to help drivers get relicensed, it is a strict program. If the requirements of the program are violated, the judge will determine guilt based on the police report and the person’s driving record. If, based upon that review, the individual is found guilty, they will be sentenced up to the maximum allowed by law.
For further information about the program, please contact Mark Downing, Court Administrator.