Are you required to have an interlock or blow and go device on your car? Depending on the circumstances, you may be able to have it removed. The following is presented as a guide but would encourage you to contact our office to see if you can have the device removed.
To be eligible to have the device taken off, it must have been installed as a requirement of the Erin Swezey Act. If the device is on your car due to a court order or condition of probation through your criminal case, you probably are not eligible to have it removed.
The Erin Swezey Act required people to have an interlock on their car after they served their revocation period. Thus, if you reinstated your license and DPS required you to install an ignition interlock device as a condition of reinstatement for a period of 18 months, four years or five years, then you probably are eligible to take it off. This also applies if you haven’t reinstated yet but they are telling you that you have to do it to reinstate.
In 2019, the Oklahoma Legislature passed Senate Bill 712 which did away with the additional INTERLOCK requirement under the Erin Swezey Act, or so we thought. This new law went into effect November 1, 2019. Although the new law removed the additional Erin Swezey interlock requirements, DPS took the position that the previous language still applied to individuals who were revoked prior to the new law going into effect on November 1, 2019. Accordingly, persons who sought reinstatement after November 1, 2019 were still being required by DPS to do the additional interlock requirements, even though it was no longer the law.
In December 2019, the Hunsucker Legal Group, filed the first of a number of lawsuits in numerous counties challenging DPS’s position that the law still applied to those revoked before the new law took effect. The Courts’ ruled in our client’s favor finding that the law that is in effect at the time the person seeks reinstatement is the law that controls.
In early February 2020, DPS contacted the Hunsucker Legal Group informing us that DPS was not going to appeal our successful lower court decisions to the Oklahoma Supreme Court and was no longer going to enforce the additional interlock requirements.
So, who does this affect? Anyone who was revoked prior to November 1, 2019 will be able to reinstate without having to do the additional Erin Swezey interlock requirement. Additionally, anyone who had previously reinstated and DPS informed them they had the additional 18 months, 4 years, or 5 years of interlock may now have DPS issue them a new license without the interlock restriction and have the interlock removed from their vehicle. Simply call DPS at (405) 425-2059 to inquire about getting the new license without the restriction and having the device removed. If you have any difficulty, contact our office for assistance.
History of the Erin Swezey Act
In the early morning hours of Saturday, April 4, 2009, 20 year old college student Erin Elizabeth Swezey was headed east on the Kilpatrick turnpike in Oklahoma City when she was hit head on by a drunk driver. Ms. Swezey died as a result of the accident.
As a result of her death, Senator Clarke Jolley from Edmond, Oklahoma introduced Senate Bill 529 at the request of Erin’s parents, during the first session of the 53rd Oklahoma Legislature. On May 26, 2011, Governor Mary Fallin signed the bill into law.1 The law went into effect November 1, 2011.
One of the provisions of the new law was that it required the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety (DPS) to require the installation of an ignition interlock device (INTERLOCK) for certain periods of time following the period of mandatory revocation for a revocation for Driving Under the Influence or being in Actual Physical Control (DUI/APC).
For a first time revocation, if the driver refused to submit to the state’s breath or blood test or had a BAC of fifteen-hundredths (.15) or more, the individual was required to have an INTERLOCK installed for a period of one and one-half (1 ½) years following the mandatory revocation period. The mandatory period for a first revocation is one-hundred eighty (180) days. This meant that with a modification the individual was facing two years of installation of an INTERLOCK.
For a second revocation, the individual was required to have an INTERLOCK installed for a period four (4) years following the mandatory period revocation. The mandatory period for a second revocation within 10 years of the commencement of a prior revocation is one year. This meant that with a modification the individual was facing a total of five years of installation of an INTERLOCK.
For a third or subsequent revocation within 10 years of the commencement of a prior revocation, the individual was required to have the interlock installed for an additional five (5) year period following the mandatory period of revocation. This meant that with a modification the individual was facing a total of eight years of installation of an INTERLOCK.
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