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Judges uphold 10-year suspension of driver’s license

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A Porter County man who fought the Bureau of Motor Vehicles' decision to suspend his license for being a habitual traffic violator lost his case before the Indiana Court of Appeals.

Richard Thomas had three qualifying driving convictions within a 10-year period, with the last occurring in May 2008. In December 2011, the BMV notified Thomas that he qualified as a HTV and that his driving privileges would be suspended for 10 years beginning in January 2012.

Thomas sought an administrative review and judicial review of the BMV’s petition; the BMV affirmed his suspension and the trial court denied his petition for review.

Thomas argued that the notice from the BMV was untimely and that a statute of limitations should apply, but he never specified what statutory limitation period should apply. Indiana Code 9-30-10 does not include a statute of limitations, but the court has previously ruled the two-year statute of limitations doesn’t apply. The Court of Appeals concluded, based on a recent Supreme Court decision, that the general 10-year statute of limitations in I.C. 34-11-1-2 applies.

The limitations begin tolling after the third conviction qualifying one as a HTV, not with the first offense, as Thomas argued. The judges also pointed out that it’s up to the General Assembly to decide whether a shorter limitations period is appropriate.

In Richard Thomas v. Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles, 64A03-1204-PL-191, the Court of Appeals also rejected Thomas’ claim that the doctrine of laches applies. He argues the suspension would result in extreme unfairness because “in the years since his last qualifying conviction, he has ‘altered his behavior to effectively render himself a safe driver,’” the opinion says.

“However, we are unconvinced by Thomas’s self-serving statement regarding his belief that he has altered his behavior in a manner such to render him a ‘safe driver,’ and conclude that it falls far short of demonstrating that the public interest would be threatened by the BMV’s conduct in the instant matter,” Judge Cale Bradford wrote.

 

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  1. I can understand a 10 yr suspension for drinking and driving and not following the rules,but don't you think the people who compleate their sentences and are trying to be good people of their community,and are on the right path should be able to obtain a drivers license to do as they please.We as a state should encourage good behavior instead of saying well you did all your time but we can't give you a license come on.When is a persons time served than cause from where I'm standing,its still a punishment,when u can't have the freedom to go where ever you want to in car,truck ,motorcycle,maybe their should be better programs for people instead of just throwing them away like daily trash,then expecting them to change because they we in jail or prison for x amount of yrs.Everyone should look around because we all pay each others bills,and keep each other in business..better knowledge equals better community equals better people...just my 2 cents

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  3. I expressed my thought in the title, long as it was. I am shocked that there is ever immunity from accountability for ANY Government agency. That appears to violate every principle in the US Constitution, which exists to limit Government power and to ensure Government accountability. I don't know how many cases of legitimate child abuse exist, but in the few cases in which I knew the people involved, in every example an anonymous caller used DCS as their personal weapon to strike at innocent people over trivial disagreements that had no connection with any facts. Given that the system is vulnerable to abuse, and given the extreme harm any action by DCS causes to families, I would assume any degree of failure to comply with the smallest infraction of personal rights would result in mandatory review. Even one day of parent-child separation in the absence of reasonable cause for a felony arrest should result in severe penalties to those involved in the action. It appears to me, that like all bureaucracies, DCS is prone to interpret every case as legitimate. This is not an accusation against DCS. It is a statement about the nature of bureaucracies, and the need for ADDED scrutiny of all bureaucratic actions. Frankly, I question the constitutionality of bureaucracies in general, because their power is delegated, and therefore unaccountable. No Government action can be unaccountable if we want to avoid its eventual degeneration into irrelevance and lawlessness, and the law of the jungle. Our Constitution is the source of all Government power, and it is the contract that legitimizes all Government power. To the extent that its various protections against intrusion are set aside, so is the power afforded by that contract. Eventually overstepping the limits of power eliminates that power, as a law of nature. Even total tyranny eventually crumbles to nothing.

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