According to a new court ruling in Oklahoma, DUI offenders could be getting their driver’s licenses back. This decision comes after Oklahoma criminal defense attorneys said their clients’ constitutional rights to a speedy trial are being violated.
If someone is arrested for DUI in Oklahoma, the criminal aspect of his or her case is handled through criminal court. Also, there is an administrative hold placed on their license, with the DMV. DUI offenders have the option to request a hearing to reinstate their license if they notify the Department of Public Safety within 15 days from the date they received notice. If they request this hearing, the revocation of their license is stayed. It will not go into effect until their administrative hearing is completed.
According to Oklahoma criminal defense attorneys, the Department of Public Safety is so backlogged that some DUI offenders are waiting up to two years for their administrative hearing.
The Court of Civil Appeals found that while keeping drunk drivers off the roads is important, so are upholding the constitutional right to a speedy trial. Currently, the average time DUI offenders are waiting for their hearing is between 10-15 months. The Court of Appeals did not set a specific time frame for what was too long to wait, but the cases they found were DUI offenders had waited too long were more than 12 months.