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Oklahoma Supreme Court upholds lower court's ruling

The Oklahoma Supreme Court confirmed in December that the wording used in court orders in drunken-driving cases did not comply with state law, which could mean that motorists in alcohol-related cases would be eligible for refunds. The Department of Public Safety could be liable for a $11 million for repayment of costs associated with the revocation and reinstatement of driver's licenses for more than 37,000 motorists.

After an alcohol-related driving offense, such as a DUI, DPS assesses a $175 fee to reinstate a driver's license and $300 to shorten the revocation period. The specific case before the court included half-a-dozen people, but thousands of motorists across the state could be affected. Lawyers are looking at class-action lawsuits in Tulsa and Oklahoma counties for all motorists if their license was revoked between 2008 and October 2013. In October, the wording of the affidavit was changed to comply with state law.

Oklahoma law rules that blood-alcohol tests must include a statement that the law enforcement officer has reasonable suspicion that the arrested person might have been driving while impaired. However, the older language says that the information provided by the officer agrees that 'the foregoing is true and correct." The appeals court determined in October that the findings were not accurate based on law. A DPS spokesman refused to comment on the pending legal case. They are conducting a further review of other cases that might have been affected and how they will handle those.

When someone faces charges of drinking and driving, the entire legal system has an obligation to follow the correct procedures. This case is just one example of an error committed by authorities during DUI proceedings. When officials do not comply with protocol, a criminal defense attorney might be able to help clients seek a dismissal of certain charges.

Source: SFGate, "State may have to refund millions over faulty DUI license revocations", December 15, 2013

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