Thousands of drivers who paid fees to have their drivers licenses reinstated after Oklahoma DUI arrests could be in line to receive refunds from the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety. The revocations could also be expunged from their records if they prevail in a class-action lawsuit filed in Tulsa County District Court Dec. 2. 2013.
The class action suit follows an Oct. 9, 2013 Oklahoma Court of Civil Appeals ruling that found police affidavits commonly used in DUI cases were legally insufficient. The DPS was revoking licenses without anyone stating they believed the drivers were under the influence.
(Read the Tulsa Attorney Blog post about the Oklahoma DUI revocation appellate decision here.)
For the DPS to revoke a drivers license, Oklahoma Statutes (Okla. Stat. Tit. 47 § 753, 754(C)) require 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 throught 2013 did not include space for such statements.
The forms instead merely provided space for observations that could lead to the conclusion a driver was under the influence. The appeals court found that insufficient. The Oklahoma Supreme Court on Dec. 9, 2013 declined to review the appellate decision, which had combined six cases that each called the DPS affidavits into question.
By then, some of those who had appealed the revocations and drivers from other counties had filed a class-action in Tulsa County seeking repayment of fees they had paid the DPS for modification of revocations and reinstatement of their drivers licenses. They are also asking that the DPS compensate them for the costs of ignition interlock devices they were required to use while their licenses were revoked, and expunge the revocation from their drivers record.
The class action further seeks to bar the DPS from attempting to settle the case with individual drivers as it has previously when a class action was filed. The Associated Press reports that refunds to 37,000 drivers could cost the state $11 million.
That number is based on the total number of drivers arrested for alcohol related offenses from June 2008 through October 2013, and DPS fees of $175 to reinstate licenses and $300 to modify the length of a revocation. It does not include the potential costs associated with ignition interlock devices some drivers were required to install.
Free Consultation: Tulsa DUI Attorney
If you lost driving privileges in Oklahoma based on a DUI in the past five years, contact the Wirth Law Office Tulsa DUI attorney at (918) 879-1681 or toll free at (888) Wirth-Law. You may also send us your written questions using the form at the top left of this page.