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OK: Today, They Stamped “Sex Offender” on My Driver’s License

I’d been dreading this day for months – the final day before my Oklahoma state driver’s license expired. Recently, my state had passed legislation requiring that the licenses of those convicted of aggravated sex offenses be marked “Sex Offender” in bold capital red letters in two different locations on the front of the card.

Red letter days are supposed to be joyful occasions, but not so much in this case. I certainly wasn’t going to submit to this particular humiliation by renewing my license any earlier than necessary, so I procrastinated until the very last moment. Perhaps I was simply in denial. Maybe I was hoping against hope that our elected representatives and the courts would miraculously come to their senses and see the utter insanity of this policy before Thursday rolled around. But, of course, that didn’t happen.

That morning, I prepared myself mentally by indulging in a sumptuous meal. I’ve always believed that bad things seem even worse on an empty stomach. I showered, shaved, and put on a new shirt. “Look good, feel good, and you’ll be at your best,” is what my mother always told me. I drove the scenic route to the licensing agency. I was in absolutely no hurry to do this. I pulled into the parking lot, took a few deep breaths, and strode into the airy office with a smile on my face that didn’t reflect the churning in my stomach.

For the first time in my life, I was hoping for a long line… and yet there I was, the only customer in the place. A woman beckoned me to her station, and I handed her my expiring license with a smile. “I need to renew this,” I said. I silently considered adding some pithy remark befitting a condemned man on his way to the gallows but realized that I’d probably then have to explain it, which would only make things worse. She cheerfully invited me to have a seat in another lady’s cubicle and I did.

She asked me if any of my information had changed. I thought, everything has changed. My life has been turned upside down. I was nearly bankrupted. Society now considers me a monster. I smiled and said, “No, nothing’s changed.”

She was undoubtedly viewing my information on her computer screen and the digital proof of the license as we chatted. SEX OFFENDER. Big. Bold. Red. Letters. If this perturbed her in any way, she gave no indication of it whatsoever. Instead, she asked, “Are you a veteran?”

I responded, “Yes, I am. Why do you ask?”

She positively beamed, “We can also print VETERAN on your license! You know, in case you want to get a military discount while shopping or at restaurants!” I chuckled and told her to go ahead and add it.

Not that I’ll be showing off my new red-letter license to the cashier at IHOP anytime soon.

by Michael M.

Join the discussion

  1. Agamemnon

    This has to go before SCOTUS at some point. As kuch as all SORNA policies get compared to Nazi policies, the branding of a citizen on their identification solely for the purpose of public scrutiny is literally what the Nazis used to do to opressed demographics.

  2. FRegistryTerrorists

    If I were you, I would show that license off everywhere I could. Ask people what they think about it and if they indicate in any way that they approve of it, you should nicely tell them that they are not an American, should go F themselves, and have a terrible day. I go out of my way to be unkind to anyone who supports this harassment.

    We all need to remember that we have nothing to be ashamed of. People who support the $EX Offender Registries do. They are idiotic, backwards, immoral criminals.

    These attacks are criminal acts of war. The rubes who support them should not be treated in any other way except as war criminals. There is no reason to believe that they have any moral or ethical authority in the slightest.

    • Eric Knight

      Actually, that WOULD make for an excellent undercover video documentary. Getting reactions on clerks and bouncers would be priceless.

  3. TS

    Have to wonder if Millard could have any positive impact on those in OK who are within the Tenth Circuit’s Area of Responsibly…

    I hope so…similar principle with a different item. As much as you need to show your ID/DL these days, makes me wonder “If….”

  4. TG

    Sorry to hear it. I dread this happening in California.

  5. PK

    I’m curious to know what would be considered an “agravated” sex offense.

  6. CR

    This is a terrible thing. I wonder what justification the state used to pass this law? Whatever it is, it is bull. No matter what the state says, the real reason has got to be to shame, humiliate, retaliate against, and to punish the ex-offender.

    It would be hard to live with that.

  7. The Static-99R Is A Scam

    Wow, the fact they stamp “sex offender” on someone’s driver’s license is absurd. I sure hope that doesn’t come to California…

  8. AJ

    I still think there’s a decent compelled speech case about this topic, if one uses Maynard v. Wooley (license plates). Marking one’s ID/DL certainly is not the least restrictive and most narrowly tailored method of getting the State’s public safety message out. Heck, the State doesn’t even have control over how, when or if the message gets out, since a RC could avoid all situations requiring its use!

    There’s also Smith to consider here. No longer is “the notification system is a passive one” as in Smith. A citizen is bombarded by the information the moment a RC shows his/her ID/DL. As well, the RC herself/himself must actively speak for the State every time s/he uses the ID/DL. Also, the ID/DL marking in no way allows for the “dissemination of accurate information about a criminal record”, it just brands the person…shames her/him through face-to-face interactions—a traditional form of punishment.

    Additionally, there is no dangerousness disclaimer, something key to the CT DPS decision, and there is insufficient information for a citizen to make an informed decision about a particular RC. (I forget which case it was, but this was cited as one of the benefits to the public of having RCs’ offenses listed.)

    • Political Prisoner

      “No longer is “the notification system is a passive one” as in Smith. A citizen is bombarded by the information the moment a RC shows his/her ID/DL.”

      you could say the same thing IRT the marking of passports due to IML

      • AJ

        @Political Prisoner:
        you could say the same thing IRT the marking of passports due to IML
        Absolutely! However the ubiquity and necessity of IDs/DLs relative to a passport doesn’t come close to comparing. Nobody is required to have a passport; however some sort of government-issued ID is needed for many things in everyday life. And in some states, RCs *are* required to have special state-issued IDs…on them, no less.

        That all said, a win on the DL/ID claim would bolster any passport argument.

        • Lovecraft

          Seems the best avenue to take would be go after this id law then use the case (assuming we win) to bolster the iml lawsuit

  9. Robert Curtis

    There is an answer to the problem of having to have a stamped “Sex Offender” to your license…get a duel residency in another state! I am from Texas and due to my mother living in Texas I find myself often living there part of the year. I am not required to register as a sex offender in the state of Texas (non-SORNA state) so I opted to get a Texas driver’s license and tags for my car. If I was the person in Oklahoma I’d certainly consider the dual residency option. Dealing with bullies in 3 ways 1) appease then 2) Avoid/run from them 3) fight them. In this instance #2 option of avoiding the issue might be the best option.

    • Eric Knight

      Please be VERY CAREFUL about this. Like Nevada, Texas is VERY strict on registry compliance, and if you have any residence identification in Texas, they require you to register if you have had to register elsewhere at ANY time, EVEN if you are off the registry in that state NOW! This has been confirmed with an associate of mine who stays here in California for that very reason. If you are stopped in Texas for any reason, for instance, that can trigger a huge FTR felony. Of course, you can “try” to use your SEX OFFENDER-labeled license from your original state, but that would just add another charge once the cops ultimately find out your status.

  10. Anon

    Does anyone know if they’re doing this in florida yet? I have to renew my license in a few months, and I already have the statute indicator on mine but I’ve also procrastinated and am fearful of having to get mine renewed as well

  11. JR

    How awful. Imagine if you are lucky enough to land a good job (no background check) and then the employer asks “I’ll need to make a copy of your Drivers License and SS# for our records”.

    • Trish

      Don’t need to imagine ! It has been happening all alot ! And much more than copies ! The lady spoke loudly to the whole dmv …..we have another one here ! When my hubby got his renewed and paid extra $ forced by Alabama !

      • AJ

        The lady spoke loudly to the whole dmv …..we have another one here !
        To which the proper reply is, “may I speak with a supervisor please?” Perhaps the supervisor can explain why your hubby’s personal business gets broadcast and nobody else’s does.

        These types of things are all about trying to get the upper hand on someone, i.e. shaming. However if you push back and act completely normal, or even a little on offense (i.e. supervisor request), these type of people start to shrink and shrivel. When they try to shame, push back.

        • NoTrish

          Sorry ! AJ …..the lady was covered by co workers ! Discrimination is not easily dealt with ! The law allows and promotes these situations ! Pushing back is a loss cause when they have power ! I know when to take a stand ! Just like I said about passports ….you must surrender them , they give them back when they are finished with them, tracking and updating and it is irrelevant you have old ones after forced to take new ones! They control system and situation and you can’t argue ! Another example how bad situations are in AL…..Probation will turn to prison very quickly if you resist …..buck system in any way ! No lawyers working in AL for ex offenders, except to help put them away ! Organizations are needed here and good people need to take a stand together to fight this scale of problem! I

        • AJ

          I’m not saying resist, I’m saying exert your right to the same treatment of all others when conducting business with the State. Bureaucrats *hate* getting attention drawn to their improper activities. Yes, that can mean some backlash, but it can also mean making them sit up straight and behave.

          Had the clerk been engaged, and the supervisor engaged, they’d both know they need to do their work properly. If no change, you go to the supervisor’s supervisor, and so on. Having spent a bit of time intimately involved with bureaucrats and their ways, it does work. Eventually there’s a supervisor high enough of who doesn’t accept this sort of behavior, regardless the who the abused citizen is.

          This concept is all part of my new stance of not shrinking when others attempt to case a shadow of shame on me. If they try to make me feel awkward or something, I act even more normal and engaging. Smother them with normalcy and niceness and they run out of steam–and lose their fun. I understand the difficulty in doing this, but it does pay off in time.

  12. Tim Moore

    When the judges finally catch up with reality, there is going to be a big restitution due to those disabled by these willful acts of hatred.

  13. j

    How is the hell is this anything to do with public safety. It is public shaming by a bunch of nazis in the asylum they call the state legislature. My deepest thoughts and prayers go out to those affected and afflicted with this extreme measure of cruelty and depraved indifference.

  14. kat

    We are all ” so much more than a few meaningless words on a license.”
    Don’t give it another thought, how often do any of us or anyone else for that matter, ever look at our licenses?
    Just live your life.

    • CR

      You may not be really aware of how often you have to present your DL for ID until your faced with having to show a marked one. Banks, doctors, hospitals, hotels, car dealers, tool or vehicle rental businesses, and more want to see your DL for identification. You often have to show it or a photocopy of it when applying for loans, a mortgage, writing a check at the grocery store, buying tobacco or liquor products, etc. You’ll have to show ID to engage in many activities that have age or residency requirements, or to get a Costco or Sam’s Club membership.

      I have some recreational and competitive hobbies for which I must show my driver’s license one or more times nearly every weekend in order to participate. I would most definitely feel compelled to quit these activities if I had a marked license, as there’s no way I’d be willing to expose my status to so many people.

      • AJ

        Not all these places require the ID/DL to be unexpired; they merely want a government-issued document saying you are who you claim to be, what your DOB is, and/or to match signatures. A helpful tactic would be to get a duplicate/replacement license sometime prior to having to get the marked renewal. Then on renewal day turn in the replacement, keeping your original as a handy (expired) ID. The times you actually need an unexpired ID are fewer than one would expect. And if you need an unexpired document, a passport–even a marked one–or a passport card will suffice.

        • steve

          AJ is right. Time too be creative and legally skirt whatever bs they throw at us. Get a state ID card.

        • CR

          @AJ, I agree, that would be a good tactic to use whenever possible. Worth a shot, at least.

          Off topic a little, but I wonder what is encoded in those mag stripes on the back of the DL, in the states that have them? Does anyone know? About the only place that I can recall having my driver’s license swiped through a mag stripe reader is at the pharmacy whenever I buy OTC medicines that contain certain decongestant ingredients. Claritin-D is an example. They never actually look at my ID. They just swipe it and had it back to me.

        • TS


          Good idea. As long as the hole punched VOID is not in the ID/DL, the expiration date will most likely not be noticed. It is good to lose your ID/DL, get a replacement and then find the lost ID/DL. A second one can be priceless.

        • AJ

          I recall seeing something about this some time back (as in years) when the REAL ID crap was coming about. There were a number of states that balked at it, concerned it was going to become a national ID card (which it essentially is). Anyway, from what I recall, the stuff that’s encoded in the mag stripe is pretty much the stuff on the front of the card. There may be some other ID number or such for LEOs’ benefit with their in-car laptops, but otherwise I believe it’s basic info.
          As long as the hole punched VOID is not in the ID/DL, the expiration date will most likely not be noticed.
          Thus my reasoning for a replacement ID/DL ahead of time to turn in at renewal. The original would still be intact, though expired.
          It just occurred to me that if someone has a marked, expired ID/DL, they may be free to alter it as they wish and see fit. I would be very careful in doing so, but since it’s no longer a valid government document, how could one be charged with mutilating/altering it? My thought being that perhaps the marker could be removed or marked out, thus providing a “clean” ID to use in acceptable situations. Again, this would require being SURE of the legal ins and outs.

        • Trish

          AL already, stopped this….! Law states, you must sign a sworn affidavit at dmv saying you have relinquished all former ids and you will be fined and imprisoned for violating SORNA and Federal, State laws !

  15. David

    This is absurd ….. especially when schools can now use technology that instantly scans DLs and will identify any Registrant. There’s absolutely no reason it should be printed on any DL except for the sole intention of shaming the license holder. 😡

  16. Janice Bellucci

    It is unconscionable for the State of Oklahoma to add a Scarlet Letter to registrants’ drivers licenses! There are so many times when a driver’s license can be required as ID and I can’t think of even one reason when the person who asks for ID has a “need to know” that person is a registrant. This is also compelled speech and should be challenged in the Oklahoma courts.

    • Lake County

      If CA ever did this, I’d have to give up cigarettes and alcohol. No one wants to have to show the store clerk a “marked” ID. Although I feel comfortable that ACSOL would be able to stop this from happening. Plus, where would CA get the money to update 100,000+ ID’s? Especially after they just updated all their CDL equipment and software.

    • concerned

      Janice Bellucci,
      Fl. puts the statue number on DL. Lic. and i been saying for years that it’s compelled speech. Janice Bellucci PLEASE COME AND MOVE TO FLORIDA AND HELP US PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE

  17. norman

    If you travel, good luck trying to get a hotel/motel room with that on your license.


  18. TS

    Lively discussion on this topic at the National level organization’s website. Had to leave a comment with the Maynard v Wooley case suggestion.

    • CR

      What website is that, please?

      • TS


        NARSOL website

        Thanks @AJ for the court case to cite

        • AJ

          You’re quite welcome. Also key to the whole argument is Riley* v. Nat’l Fed. of the Blind ( In that case, SCOTUS said:
          Moreover, for First Amendment purposes, a distinction cannot be drawn between compelled statements of opinion and, as here, compelled statements of “fact,” since either form of compulsion burdens protected speech. Thus, North Carolina’s content-based regulation is subject to exacting First Amendment scrutiny.
          This is a bright-line statement, and reiterates strict scrutiny as the standard. It’s obviously important in the ID/DL discussion as the State would certainly argue they’re just giving truthful information, a la ML. However, unlike the data on a ML site, which is a compendium of public records, the marking on a DL/ID is not any form of public record. It is a distinct and separate message actively created by the State, which the citizen is then compelled to speak, despite her/his disagreement with the message–just like in Maynard.

          WV St. Bd. of Educ. v. Barnette ( could also come into play regarding compelled speech. (It was a actually Freedom of Religion case, but SCOTUS avoided that and ruled on Freedom of Speech…compelled speech.)

          * I suspect Riley will do some heavy-lifting in the pending SCOTUS Opinion for National Institute of Family and Life Advocates v. Becerra ( A decision for NIFLA, which I think will happen, will further strengthen compelled speech cases involving factual information.

        • TS

          Thanks @AJ

          I am sure, and am hopeful, those who are marked this way will come out and band together to fight this marking. If they do, I can see it going to the Tenth Circuit in Denver also since OK is part of their region.

          I may be off here, but I believe this could be a class action suit based upon compelled speech?? If they waited, then they may start hearing of damages towards people once IDs/DLs are used.

        • AJ

          I may be off here, but I believe this could be a class action suit based upon compelled speech??
          A single affected person filing suit facially challenging its constitutionality should suffice.

  19. Trish

    AL already, stopped this….! Law states, you must sign a sworn affidavit at dmv saying you have relinquished all former ids and you will be fined and imprisoned for violating SORNA and Federal, State laws !

  20. David

    Can somebody please remind me why don’t those convicted of a drug offense have “Drug Dealer” stamped on their driver’s license… even if that offense was 20 years ago? After all, they pose an even greater risk to Public Safety as they have a much higher recidivism rate. And how about “Drunk Driver”?? They may have been convicted once 10 years ago, but they still should have it stamped on their license as if they are – each time the license is presented – under the influence/intoxicated. Again, much higher rate of recidivism and also a significant public safety risk. Wouldn’t “Drunk Driver” be far more relevant to have stamped on a driver’s license???

  21. ReadyToFight

    I agree David,
    So quick you take things away from us and replace them with restrictions and burdensome rules that only apply to our group.
    I’ve thought about pushing for others with a criminal record to be forced to enjoy what we must endure in hopes that we would eventually have a large enough group of pissed off ppl to create some real pushback. Tho I’m my heart of hearts, I know what our government is doing is wrong and I wouldn’t want to give them anymore citizens to throw into the fire.

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