Marion County Prosecutor’s Office expands driver diversion programs

Marion County Prosecutor Ryan Mears has announced that his office will expand access to programs to help residents resolve traffic violations quickly and without appearing in traffic court.

Mears said the programs aim to eliminate barriers for those seeking a valid driver’s license and recognize the importance of public safety and maintaining adequate auto insurance.

“We know that the current public health crisis has caused confusion and some individuals have delayed addressing traffic tickets,” Mears said in a news release. “We want to work with drivers to make the process as smooth as possible so that they can address the violation and move on.”

Traffic deferral programs being extended include:

  • Project Valid, which allows individuals who have been cited for misdemeanor driving while suspended or operating a motor vehicle without ever receiving a license an opportunity to receive a valid driver’s license. If the individual successfully completes the process to receive a license, criminal prosecution is withheld.
  • Safe Driver Deferral Program, which allows individuals charged with a traffic infraction an opportunity to keep the infraction from appearing on their driving record by paying a one-time fee and agreeing to not commit any further traffic violations for six months. Certain moving violations and seat belt infractions are typically eligible for deferral.

People with pending traffic court matters can see if they are eligible for either program by completing and submitting the online form at https://www.indy.gov/form/traffic-court-inquiry, or by contacting the prosecutor’s office by email at [email protected] or phone at (317) 987-5288

A spokesman for the prosecutor’s office said that between December and April, a monthly average of 845 people have participated in the initiatives, but the office wants to assist as many eligible individuals as possible.

“Too often we hear discussions of criminal justice reform, without real results. These initiatives empower residents to proactively communicate with our office regarding their traffic court violations so that we can work together to get the issue resolved,” Mears said.

The office also offers initiatives such as Second Chance Workshops for suspended driver’s licenses and expungements, and the Good Faith Initiative to address past due child support. “These programs, as well as progressive policies, are designed to increase fairness and equality within the criminal justice system,” the office said.

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