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June 28, 2013

Indiana BMV lowering license fees after lawsuit

INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles announced Friday it was cutting fees for driver’s licenses, determining after being sued over the charges that it had miscalculated them.

The lawyer who filed the class-action lawsuit against the BMV, Irwin Levin, said he welcomed the agency’s action, but believes it should also refund some $30 million collected since 2007.

Fees for standard operator’s licenses were cut by $3.50 effective immediately on Friday, BMV spokesman Josh Gillespie said. The new fees will range from $17.50 for a six-year license to $14.50 for a four-year license — a maximum reduction of about 19 percent.

Gillespie said no action has been taken on any refunds and that he couldn’t comment further on that possibility because of the pending lawsuit.

“The initial action right now is to lower the prices,” Gillespie said. “That is not part of the lawsuit. We did that on our own because of our own calculations.”

Lawyers for the BMV acknowledged in a court filing last month that it “may have inadvertently” overcharged drivers for licenses.

Levin, an Indianapolis lawyer, filed the lawsuit in March alleging that drivers under age 75 were charged between $4 and $7 more for each license than allowed by state law.

He said Friday he still believed the lower fees set by the BMV are too high and that he was in mediation sessions with the state on a possible resolution.

“I’m happy that they’re charging people less of the illegal amount than they were, but they now need to pay everybody back through the court system so that there’s transparency,” he said.

A spokesman for the state attorney general’s office, which is representing the BMV, declined to comment about the status of the lawsuit.

More than 2 million of the state’s 4 million drivers renewed their licenses in Indiana last year, according to the lawsuit that a Marion County judge granted class-action status in May.

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