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State Demands Cash From Former DUI Offenders, Years Later

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(CBS) – They admit they were driving drunk, paid their fines and thought they were done.

But then they got a second notice, years later, that they owed hundreds more. Why?

A computer glitch, CBS 2’s Dorothy Tucker reports.

Young Erin Carlstrand was arrested for drunk driving in Kane County in 2002. Today, a more mature Carlstrand openly admits her mistake.

“It wasn’t responsible of me and I learned my lesson,” she says.

That lesson came with a price: more than $800 in fines and court fees, 100 hours of community service, counseling and a suspended license. Twelve years after the fact, the Secretary of State is revoking her license, because of the DUI.

“I was in shock,” she said.

The problem, according to a letter she received, is that the Kane County circuit courts never reported Carlstrand’s DUI conviction to the state. In fact, 1,700 DUI cases between 2002 and 2008 went unreported because of a computer glitch.

To get their licenses reinstated, Carlstrand and others have to pay another $1,000 — this time to the state.

“It’s unfair that they’re bringing this up now when I think something’s in my past. I took care of it and my driver’s record has been completely clear ever since,” Carlstrand says.

By phone, the current Kane County Circuit Clerk says the glitch didn’t happen under his watch but he’s sorry for it.

Why won’t the state just waive the fees?

“We don’t have the right to change the fees or waive the fees,” says Beth Kaufman, a spokeswoman for the Secretary of State. “They have to pay the fee by law.”

While the office won’t waive the fee, state officials are allowing drivers to keep their driving privileges.

They are not being required to give up their licenses, but they must pay the fees to get them officially reinstated.

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