Tulsa, OK- Thousands of Oklahoma drivers whose licenses were revoked because they were charged with DUI could get their driving privileges back because of recent appeals court decision.
According to Tulsa World, the state Court of Civil Appeals rulings from last Wednesday ordered two lower courts to dismiss license revocations for two Tulsa County resident and a Cleveland County resident.
The appeals court ruling stated that Department of Public Safety was made aware of a problem with their license revocation paperwork in 1990. The problem had not been corrected now even more drivers with DUI charges could have their licenses reissued.
The paperwork issue stems from a state law that requires blood-alcohol test reports to include “a sworn report from a law enforcement officer that the officer had reasonable grounds to believe the arrested person” drove or could have driven a car under the influence of alcohol, Tulsa World reported.
The recent appeals court rulings stated that drivers improperly lost their licenses because the affidavits that accompanied the blood-alcohol test reports were not in compliance with wording in the state law. A minor technicality, but it means there are potentially thousands of licenses that were wrongfully revoked.
A former attorney for the Department of Public Safety, John Hunsucker, told Tulsa World that he warned the agency of the problem several years ago, after the state began to use the Intoxilyzer 8000, the method used for testing drivers for drugs or alcohol.
Hunsucker said the DPS was aware of the wording on the affidavits was incorrect but “chose to ignore it.”
Hunsucker along with Tulsa attorney Bruce Edge have hired former DPS attorney DeAnne Taylor to work on revocation cases. The flawed affidavits have been in use since 2008 and some drivers are eligible to challenge their license revocation based on the appeals court ruling.
According to the DPS, 40,000 people have filed appeals from license revocations between December 2008 and December 2012. At the end of the 2012 fiscal year, the DPS had accrued $475,000 in various DUI related fees.
The affidavits accompanying blood test results are also used in criminal DUI prosecution. Revocations and criminal DUI cases are separate and only revocations will be affected by the new ruling.
The DPS has since sent police officers additional forms to correct the wording in the flawed forms. The new forms include the language required by law and state an arresting officer had “reasonable grounds to believe” that the driver drove or could have driven under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
The director of the state Board of Tests, Kevin Behrens, sent emails to police officers who conduct the tests informing them of the appeals court decision and stated all cases must now include a sworn affidavit.
The board plans to include the proper, legal language in new forms produced by the drug testing machines.
The flawed forms are demonstrative of the many mistakes that officers and state agencies can make DUI arrests and license revocations. Any mistake is a boon to a Tulsa DUI attorney who can build a strong defense and possibly keep you from being convicted and losing your license.