Oklahoma Appeals Court Reiterates Due Process Violation in Driver’s License Appeal

A division of the Oklahoma Court of Civil Appeals has ruled that an unexplained and lengthy delay in providing an administrative hearing by the Department of Public Safety can amount to a deprivation of due process.

In Ryan v. Commissioner of the Department of Public Safety, a driver was stopped and refused the officer’s request to submit to a breath test. Under the State’s Implied Consent Law, the driver was given notice that his License would be suspended. Before the expiration of the 15-day appeal period, the driver requested an Administrative Hearing on the suspension.

After the hearing was set, the Department caused the Hearing to be postponed. After another postponement, the hearing was finally held 13 1/2 months after the Driver’s arrest. After the hearing, the State Hearing Officer affirmed the suspension, and the driver appealed to the District Court. Finding that there was no Constitutional violation, the District Court affirmed the suspension.

The State Court of Civil Appeals reversed. In it’s opinion, the Court said that the Department had not produced any evidence that there was a compelling reason for the delay and that the delay was not of the driver’s doing. Further, the delay did work to the driver’s detriment, in that he was no longer employable at his current position, and had to take a lower paying job pending the outcome of his Administrative Hearing.

Read the Decision here.

Find more information at the Oklahoma Law Website

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