Habitual Traffic Violations (HTV)
It is so important for a client to be informed accurately as to the potential ramifications to one’s driver’s license separate from the court for a multiple dui offender. Unfortunately, this reality is not always the case as an inexperienced or inattentive attorney may have a client resolve a dui prosecution only to learn thereafter that the client represented has been hit with a possible five to ten year license suspension issued separately by the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles.
In the State of Indiana, it is the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) that is the entity responsible for the issuance, suspension and reinstatement of driving privileges. Within the context of a dui prosecution this is essential to be aware of when working with an attorney in regard to potential additional license suspensions.
Although in most dui prosecutions the court may suspend one’s driver’s license for no more than two (2) years, (five years for causing death) one is subject to an additional license suspension by the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles.
If an individual has received three (3) or more “major” moving violations within a ten (10) year period, (Operating a Motor Vehicle While Intoxicated, Reckless Driving, etc.) the person will be declared a “Habitual Traffic Violator” by the Indiana BMV. This designation will suspend the license of the person so designated for ten (10) years. However, relief may now be available under provisions of new Indiana specialized driving privileges laws. Such laws now allow for one to seek restricted privileges limited to employment or whatever other purposes a judge will permit based upon the individual’s specific circumstances.
If a person has accumulated one (1) major moving violation and nine (9) ”minor” moving violations within a ten year period (speeding tickets, driving while suspended not by court order, etc.) the individual will be assigned a five (5) year license suspension to his or her license. In such a circumstance the individual can petition for the above referenced specialized driving privileges to seek earlier reinstatement of driving privileges in the same limited restricted capacity.
One critical piece of information that even lawyers often get wrong: although reference has been made in Indiana statutes referring to three “judgements” in a ten year period to be at risk of a ten year habitual license suspension, it is not date of convictions that are counted, but date of incident. Therefore, attempts to delay a conviction to get beyond 10 years while a case is pending will be not be a proper strategy.
As a result of the above referenced HTV suspensions in Indiana, one considering the possibility of pleading guilty to a dui offense should never do so without understanding their present license suspension status. The plea agreement filed within a court of law will not address this additional possibility nor can one assume that the attorney handling your case will know what an HTV is much less inform you as to its potential designation against you.
Of potential greater consequence as to criminal penalty beyond license suspension for the multiple offender is the potential imposition of habitual substance offender enhancements (HSO) for those at risk of accumulating at least three (3) qualifying alcohol or drug related convictions. For those at risk for such treatment, a review of HSO enhancement information is critical.