Wichita Municipal Court will hold an amnesty program next month for certain drivers who have had their licenses suspended.
The program will run from Dec. 4 to Dec. 30, and will assist drivers who have been suspended for failure to pay or go to court for a traffic citation, said Donte Martin, court administrator for municipal court.
Fees and traffic-related warrants will be waived, Martin said. If the applicant can’t afford to pay the fines and court costs, they can receive credit toward their fines by performing community service with local nonprofit organizations or attend training offered by Workforce Alliance.
“I’m extremely excited about the partnership with Workforce Alliance” because of the potential for participants to improve their job skills, Martin said. “I believe the program will be successful.”
About 8,000 licenses are suspended each year at the city’s request because the drivers didn’t pay a traffic ticket or failed to set up or appear at a court date about the citation, Martin said. The amnesty program will waive city reinstatement fees and cancel outstanding warrants and allow drivers to pay fines and court costs in full or set up payment plans over 12 months.
The amnesty program does not apply to suspensions from other courts, warrants for charges not related to traffic offenses, suspensions related to driving under the influence, driving with a suspended or revoked license or failure to maintain liability insurance.
State Sen. Michael O’Donnell said the driver amnesty is a pilot program that is being watched closely at the state level.
If it proves successful, he said, legislation will be introduced at the next legislative session allowing for the waiver of city and state fees around Kansas.
“This is going to be great,” Sen. Oletha Faust-Goudeau, D-Wichita, said of the program.
When she spoke at a drug alcohol recovery center recently, she said, she asked what their biggest problem was to recovery. Transportation, they told her. Without it, they struggle to find work or get to appointments.
“This really has the potential to impact thousands of Wichitans,” said Djuan Wash, spokesman for Sunflower Community Action.
Suspended drivers can call 316-268-4120 starting on Nov. 30 for more information about the program. They can start coming to the municipal court clerk’s office on the second floor of City Hall starting on Dec. 4.