Guy's License Suspended... Over 1981 Ticket

Typo is to blame for Kevin Berry's ordeal

By Elizabeth Armstrong Moore,  Newser Staff

Posted Aug 18, 2014 8:38 AM CDT | Updated Aug 23, 2014 6:56 AM CDT

(Newser) – When Kevin Berry was pulled over in Portland recently, he thought he was about to get a speeding ticket. But the officer told him his license had been suspended a few weeks earlier—over a ticket dating back 33 years. "I think it's crazy," Berry tells KATU, adding that he'd renewed his license without trouble for decades. It turns out that in 1981, Berry should have indeed gotten a ticket, but because of a typo it was filed under the name "Berdy" instead, and was thus never resolved.

When the DMV discovered the error recently, it declared Berry's license invalid, and apparently sent a letter to Berry's address. But Berry, who recently moved, says he never received a forwarded letter. The DMV says he doesn't have to pay the original ticket or suspension fee because of the statute of limitations, but that he does have to pay $75 to get his license reinstated. Berry is refusing on "principle," he says, given the issue arose over a typo that wasn't his doing. (The Treasury Department, meanwhile, doesn't seem to care how old a debt is.)

Motorists visit a Department of Motor Vehicles office in this file photo.
Motorists visit a Department of Motor Vehicles office in this file photo.   (AP Photo/Bruce Smith)
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