13 Mar IMPORTANT DUI UPDATE
The Department of Public Safety may have to refund millions of dollars to persons whose license were suspended after a DUI. Furthermore, those persons may be entitled to an expungement of their suspension. A class action suit has been filed in Tulsa County following an October Court of Civil Appeals ruling that police affidavits used in in DUI cases were legally insufficient.
For the DPS to revoke a driver’s license, Oklahoma Statutes (Okla. Stat. Tit. 47 § 753, 754(C)) requires a police officer’s sworn statement that the officer had reasonable grounds to believe the person had been operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol. The affidavits the DPS provided police agencies throughout Oklahoma from 2008 throughout 2013 did not include space for such statements.
Instead the forms only provided a space for the officer’s observations. The court found that this did not comply with the law and was therefore insufficient.
It is estimated that 37,000 drivers paid their reinstatement fees or requested a restricted license and paid those fees after during the time that the department was revoking licenses based on legally insufficient evidence. The fees collected by DPS is not the only money that was taken as a result of these bad affidavits. Those thousands of drivers also paid for the use of interlock devices and their installation.
The Department of Public Safety has a track record of non-compliance. In 1995, the state Supreme Court ruled that DPS overcharged motorists for reinstating their driver’s licenses from 1990 through 1993. An appeals court had ruled in 1992 that the department could not apply multiple fees to reinstate licenses, but DPS did not change its policy until a year later. The Supreme Court ruled that the decision should apply retroactively, a key issue in the current lawsuits.
If your license was revoked as a result of an alcohol related offense, ie DUI, DWI, APC, between 2008 and October 2013, please contact our office. We can be contacted at by telephone (918) 421-8843 McAlester, (918) 465-5544 Wilburton, or via our Facebook page or website www.seoklaw.com.