Jefferson County driver’s License Restoration

Rest of 2023: Clinics for Restoring Driver’s Licenses in Jefferson County

The schedule for the rest of this year’s Driver’s License Restoration Clinics in Jefferson County is complete. “We’ve held two so far this year, in Watertown and Fort Atkinson, with good turnout,” said Craig Holler, coordinator of the Jefferson County Criminal Justice Coordinating Council/Treatment Court.

The dates and locations for the coming clinics are March 16 at the L.D. Fargo Library in Lake Mills: April 20, Watertown Public Library: May 18, Dwight Foster Public Library, Fort Atkinson: June 15, L.D. Fargo Library, Lake Mills: July 20, Watertown Public Library: Aug. 17, Dwight Foster Library, Fort Atkinson: Sept. 21, L.D Fargo Library, Lake Mills: Oct. 19, Watertown Public Library. The Dwight Foster Library in Fort Atkinson on November 16 and the L.D. Fargo Library in Lake Mills on December 21.

“We believe scheduling these so far out will be of benefit to the people we are helping,” Holler said.

According to Holler, the Drivers’ License Restoration Clinics are the most recent attempt by Jefferson County to address the root causes of the problems facing the local community.

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“Helping people obtain a valid license, or forming an action plan they can use to reinstate their license over time, helps the individual, protects the community and reduces the strain on our law enforcement partners and our local court system,” he said.

There are two Wisconsin organizations working together on this project: LIFT Wisconsin and Legal Action WI. “They have proven to be great,” Holler said of the two organizations.

“Their commitment to assisting those without the means to handle these issues on their own matches Jefferson County’s commitment to solving systemic problems in our community. We are excited to continue this program through 2023.”

“The goal is to have operators of motor vehicles on public roadways who have a valid driver’s license and who follow any restrictions they may have regarding their operating privileges,”  stated Chief Deputy Donald Hunter of the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office.

“Clinics that can assist operators with accomplishing this goal can have a positive impact on public safety.”

Holler, between January 2018 and May 2021, around 57% of drivers who had their licenses suspended or revoked were eligible to have them reinstated at the time of their arrest. In 2021, 3,000 people in the county had their licenses revoked due to unpaid fines and fees.

Jefferson County driver’s License Restoration
Jefferson County driver’s License Restoration

The data from the Wisconsin Department of Motor Vehicles, over 1,100 drivers in the county had their licenses suspended due to violations such as not finishing a required course, not finishing an evaluation of their driver safety plan, or having their insurance canceled.

“Many of these individuals are eligible to reinstate their licenses after addressing these issues,” Holler said. “The driver’s license restoration clinics will assist these individuals in overcoming these barriers to obtaining a valid license. Legal assistance will be provided by Legal Action of Wisconsin.”

“The main goal each time I sentence someone is rehabilitation,” stated Jefferson County Branch IV Circuit Court Judge Bennett Brantmeier.

The best thing a person charged with operating after revocation can do is get their license. The driver’s license restoration clinic is an important tool to understand what is needed to get the license back. Simply put, more folks with a license on our roadways, makes it safer for everyone.”

“I strongly support this initiative,” said Jefferson County Branch II Circuit Court Judge William Hue.

“For a number of reasons, individuals attempting to obtain or re-obtain their drivers licenses may encounter significant financial, legal and practical obstacles associated with that effort. This program offers a valuable resource to help them navigate those obstacles, hopefully resulting in licensing. That benefits all of us.”

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