Thursday, October 9, 2003

Ohio has to pay millions to drunk drivers

The Associated Press

COLUMBUS - The state cannot charge people twice to reinstate a driver's license after a single drunken-driving conviction, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled Wednesday in a decision that could cost taxpayers more than $8 million.

The court ruled 5-2 that the Bureau of Motor Vehicles can charge people only once for a license reinstatement.

The ruling requires the state to pay back one fee - plus interest - to people who were charged twice.

Reimbursements plus the added interest could total $8 million, said attorney John Czarnecki, who represented 20,000 people who joined the class-action lawsuit against the state.

The $8 million will be divided among them.

The lawsuit came after the two original plaintiffs, Mark Poirier of Toledo and Steven Judy of Perrysburg, had to pay two reinstatement fees of $250 to get their licenses back after drunken-driving convictions in 1994.

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