Gov. Signs Bill Allowing Access to DL for those facing Justice

Mike Seals - May 24, 2021 10:38 pm

OKLAHOMA CITY – Gov. Kevin Stitt has signed legislation to ensure those involved in the criminal justice system are able to obtain a driver’s license so they can pursue work and education.

House Bill 1795, authored by Rep. Nicole Miller, R-Edmond, gives the Oklahoma Dept. of Public Safety (DPS) flexibility to work with individuals to get a provisional license if they are keeping up with their fines and fees. Current statute allows DPS to suspend or revoke a defendant’s license after arrest for a wide variety of crimes that may not be related to automobile crimes. The process to revoke a license occurs in a separate process from the criminal proceedings following an arrest.

“After working on this legislation for the past two years, I am very excited to see it signed into law,” Miller said. “This significant change will grant people who have left incarceration more opportunities for employment and education so they can rejoin society successfully and more easily.”

Miller held an interim study on the issue in 2019 after a constituent, Judy Mullen Hopper, asked ways to streamline the process for her stepson to receive his license back after it was suspended due to a non-vehicular criminal offense. He was without a license for 16 years. The bill is named after him.

“With the signing of House Bill 1795, thousands of Oklahomans will be able to keep their driver’s license when a non-vehicular offense has been committed,” Hopper said. “This bill is crucial for the success of criminal reform in our state and, more importantly, the ability for our citizens to obtain employment. I applaud my House Representative, Nicole Miller, for taking this task on and going the extra mile to make it become law!”

The bill also updates when a license could be revoked for failure to pay fines and fees. Current statute revokes licenses after failure to pay a single fine, but HB1795 would give more flexibility to the courts and DPS before revocation in hopes of allowing individuals to keep their job that allows them to pay their fines and fees.

HB1795 goes into effect Nov. 1, 2021.

 

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