An Indianapolis single mother of six has had her driving privileges reinstated after a Marion Superior Court judge granted a preliminary injunction in a lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana and private counsel Scott DeVries against the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles.
White’s Indiana driver’s license had been suspended for a year when the BMV selected her name from a list of individuals who had their driving privileges suspended previously because they had operated a motor vehicle while uninsured. However, White was not legally required to have car insurance since she did not own a registered car and was not driving.
The case alleged that the BMV’s actions were contrary to Indiana law and violated due process as guaranteed by the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
“The decision is important, not only for our plaintiff, but for the thousands of people who are being unfairly deprived of their licenses by the application of a law for which no rules have even been issued,” Ken Falk, the ACLU of Indiana’s legal director, stated in a press release. “The court’s ruling makes clear that merely possessing a driver’s license does not necessarily require someone to have auto insurance, and it is unlawful for the BMV to punish people who have not violated the law and to proceed with unpromulgated regulations.”
In 2010, the Indiana General Assembly established the “Previously Uninsured Motorist Registry” and charged the BMV with issuing regulations to make it work, according to the ACLU. The bureau never did so but still, in 2011, began selecting individuals from the registry using non-published criteria and sending them notices of license suspension for not having insurance even though they might not be required by law to have insurance.
The ruling, Lourrinne M. White, et al. v. Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles, 49D02-1206-PL-241716, was filed in Marion Superior Court.