Four Oklahoma DUI attorneys have filed suit against governor Mary Fallin and a handful of other legislators, challenging the constitutionality of the state's new drunken driving law. The law, signed June 8, abolishes the appeals process by which those charged with DUI can fight for their licenses. Shortly after the bill was signed into law, Fallin issued an executive order which would allow an administrative hearing when the Department of Public Safety plans to revoke a person's license, thus negating the function of the new law. Despite this confusing sequence of events, the law is to take effect November 1st.
At the heart of this lawsuit are the provisions of due process. The attorneys allege that the law denies drivers the right to due process, because it requires officers to seize the person's license and the public safety department to immediately destroy it. While well intentioned with regard to public safety, this iron-fisted approach does not take into account the nuances of DUI cases and the situations of those charged with the crime. “That whole system is taken out by this bill. But, it still requires the law enforcement officers to take the person's license, submit it to DPS. And, then what's different is DPS is required to immediately destroy that license upon receipt,” said the man representing the four DUI attorneys. He emphasized the point that Fallin's executive order essentially vetoes the new law. “She in fact signed the bill but then on the same day issued an executive order that contradicted provisions that were actually in the bill she had just signed... This is a bill that, from its very inception, we've tried to warn the legislature that there were numerous problems with the bill.” The attorneys involved in the suit are quick to assert that drinking and driving is never acceptable, however "[those charged] are entitled to be treated fairly and appropriately under the constitution.”
Governor Fallins office released a statement, "Governor Fallin's executive order is clearly an exercise of her constitutional authority as provided in Article 6, Section 2 of the Oklahoma Constitution to direct the Department of Public Safety (DPS). The purpose of the order is to clarify that the governor expects DPS to follow the decisions of the Oklahoma Supreme Court relating to due-process protection for drivers' licenses. DPS has assured the governor's office that it had planned to follow those decisions. As far as other aspects of the lawsuit, the governor's office has no comment because it is pending litigation, which will be addressed in appropriate court filings.”
The outcome of the ordeal remains to be seen.
If you have been charged with driving under the influence in Georgia, you will need a skilled DUI attorney to scrutinize the charges against. Do not hesitate to contact Georgia DUI Attorney Richard Lawson for a free consultation of your case.