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Indiana BMV says it may have overcharged for licenses

May 21, 2013

Indiana's Bureau of Motor Vehicles says it "may have inadvertently" overcharged drivers for licenses.

The department made the acknowledgement in a response to a class-action lawsuit that alleges Indiana collected up to $30 million more than it should have by charging drivers more for licenses than allowed by law.

"The BMV admits that on certain occasions it may have inadvertently overcharged a number of Indiana citizens for operators' licenses," lawyers for the state wrote in a May 15 court filing.

Indianapolis lawyer Irwin Levin filed a suit earlier this year alleging drivers were charged up to $7 more for each license than allowed by law. Levin is seeking to have that money returned to drivers.

But the BMV, in its response, said is still trying to determine whether drivers were "systematically" charged more for their licenses.

"The BMV is without sufficient information at this time to admit or deny the allegations regarding a systematic overcharge of Indiana drivers," Deputy Attorney General Don Hostetler wrote. Hostetler wrote later that the state should be immune against the lawsuit under state law and that the statute of limitations has run out for plaintiffs.

A spokeswoman for the attorney general's office, which is representing the BMV, declined to comment beyond what was in the court filing.

If the lawsuit is successful, the state could owe drivers at least $8 million and possibly more. More than 2 million of the state's 4 million drivers renewed their licenses in Indiana last year, according to the lawsuit.

Levin said Tuesday he found the claim that the increased prices were "inadvertent" surprising and wondered if BMV Commissioner Scott Waddell overpaid the state for his driver's license as well.

"Let's go find out how much he paid," he said.

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