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Jefferson, Gilpin County program offers opportunity for some to have arrest warrants wiped

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Posted at 1:21 PM, Aug 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-14 19:52:49-04

GOLDEN, Colo. - On Saturday, anyone with an active warrant in Jefferson or Gilpin Counties for low-level misdemeanors like traffic offenses, probation violations, shoplifting or trespassing had the opportunity to have it wiped without being arrested.

The event was made possible through the "Fresh Start" program, the first of its kind in Jefferson County.

"We're hoping just to show the community that this is something we're willing to do and to engage with the community and that they don't have to be afraid of court," said Jennifer Kilpatrick, the Director of Conviction, Integrity and Equity within Jefferson and Gilpin Counties.

Among those who showed up to get their warrant resolved was Daniel McLaughlin, accompanied by his partner Karah Cohen.

The two live in Idaho now. On Friday morning they had plans to drive to Salt Lake City for a family reunion. Those plans changed as soon as McLaughlin got an email about the opportunity.

"We were literally sitting in the driveway ready to go to our family reunion and I just look down and said, 'Babe you got to see this,' and I just showed it to her and I was like, 'We got to go. This is what I've been trying to get,'" said McLaughlin.

Moments later, the two were on the road to a different destination: the Jefferson County Fairgrounds.

"We drove 12 hours and got here at 3:30 this morning and slept in our car, and here we are," said Cohen.

In 2014, McLaughlin was living in Breckenridge when he got his first DUI.

"While I was finishing up with that probation I got in trouble with a second DUI in Breckenridge," he said.

Missed court dates eventually led to a warrant being issued for his arrest. It was after that he and Cohen decided to move to Idaho for the sake of their daughter.

"I know that's not the wisest decision, but I just had to 'cause of the situation I was in — I mean homeless — and I just had to start over," said McLaughlin.

The process of getting a warrant wiped through "Fresh Start" took about 45 minutes.

McLaughlin met with several department representatives, wrapping up the morning with claps and hugs.

"It would be like the miracle we've been looking for," said Cohen, "if they take care of it, I think it'll just be like breathing. It's going to be like breathing."

Now, a warrant is no longer out for McLaughlin's arrest.

"Ready to go. Hopefully for a fresh start, right?" he said.

Jefferson and Gilpin Counties haven't set a date for the next "Fresh Start" event, but do plan on holding more.