Wed May 19, 2010
DMV to give hearings to drivers issued confusing tickets
By Flo Jonic
Providence, R.I. – An ACLU lawsuit against the state Division of Motor Vehicles is producing results. People who received license suspension notices on the basis of decades old traffic violations are being advised of their right to a hearing.
In the process of changing computers, the DMV sent out license suspension warnings to 1,600 drivers who had not paid fines, some dating back 20 years.
The warnings failed to mention what the offense was, when it occurred or the penalty it carried. This prompted a lawsuit from the ACLU alleging a constitutional failure of due process.
In response, the DMV has recently sent out notices advising the affected people that if they request a hearing by May 28 the fines they paid will be refunded and the suspensions that were imposed on them will be revoked. ACLU attorney James Kelleher says the agency may ultimately drop the unpaid fines altogether.
Kelleher says anyone who received one of these license suspension warnings based on old offenses should watch in the mail for instructions from the DMV on the options now available to them.