OPERATING A VEHICLE WHILE OPERATORS LICENSE OR PERMIT IS SUSPENDED (OPERATING/DRIVING WHILE SUSPENDED)
Operating a vehicle while suspended (OWS) is one of the most commonly filed criminal offenses within the Allen Superior Court, Misdemeanor and Traffic Division. OWS can also be a non-criminal offense (infraction), comparable to a speeding ticket. There are countless ways to end up with a suspended license in the State of Indiana. The scary part is that there are circumstances where you could be suspended and never know about it (until you are pulled over for a routine traffic ticket and unsuspectingly arrested for driving while suspended).
This section is dedicated to giving you critical information that could help you avoid a suspension and will help you deal with a suspension if it has already happened, or if it happens in the future.
First, one of the most important things you should know is that you should ALWAYS keep your address updated with the BMV. The BMV is required by law to notify you of any suspension so that you can contest it and/or call an attorney for advice. HOWEVER, the BMV will not allow its mail to be forwarded by the post office. Therefore, it is possible that you may get suspended by the BMV AND NEVER EVEN KNOW IT. Many motorists have seen the inside of a jail cell, if only briefly, because they have not received notice in the mail. And to add insult to injury, the BMV is not to blame because the have complied with the law by sending you the notice to your last known address. Accordingly, please pull out your drivers license and check the listed address. If you are no longer living there, you should go to a license branch and give the BMV your current address.
Second, another very important thing to know is that if you plead guilty to a misdemeanor driving while suspended, OR admit to an infraction driving while suspended, your license WILL BE SUSPENDED FOR ANOTHER 90 DAYS by the BMV. Thus an endless cycle begins that is hard to escape. Therefore, you should contact an attorney experienced in both criminal and traffic law prior to admitting to any criminal offense or infraction.
Some of the main reasons that suspensions occur are listed below:
- Caught driving without insurance
- Driver failed to take BMV ordered Defensive Driving Course
- Prior Conviction or Judgment for Operating While Suspended
- Failure to pay a fine to the Court
- Failure to pay reinstatement fee to BMV or show proof of insurance as directed
- Have not paid a judgment for a car accident that occurred previously
- Suspended due to pending criminal case such as Operating While Intoxicated
The examples listed above are merely examples of incidents that might lead to a license suspension, and should not be viewed as an exhaustive compilation.
In some situations, there are ways to get your license back without an attorney. You can always visit a local BMV branch to inquire about the basis for your suspension. However, the BMV will not provide you with legal advice. We encourage you to consult an attorney experienced with the laws and regulations applicable to drivers license issues. Further, it is usually very important to seek legal counsel when facing new driving related charges. There are often ways to keep such charges off of your record and to avoid the suspensions that come with those convictions. A little time and money now could save thousands of dollars and lots of time in the future.
In fact, most drivers with problematic driving records could have avoided many of their problems if they had contacted experienced counsel along the way. In other words, it is much easier to keep one speeding ticket off of a drivers record than it is to have several removed in order for the driver to get his or her license back.
Another major problem specific to the operating while suspended (OWS) charge is that there is no provision in the law in the State of Indiana to obtain a hardship or probationary license that allows you to drive to work. Most people think that a driver can almost always apply for a work license if suspended. In fact the reverse is true. Only in very limited situations can a driver apply for and receive a work license. Usually such licenses are limited to first time Operating While Intoxicated charges and first time no insurance suspensions; or Possession of Marijuana charges. There are also licenses available for drivers involved in certain court programs and under other very fact specific circumstances.
If you take nothing else from this section, please consider talking to an attorney at Arnold Terrill Anzini, P.C. before admitting to any criminal or traffic offense. We can review your case and your driving record with you and determine the best course of action. We will work hard to make sure that you understand exactly why you are suspended and what you need to do to fix that very important problem. We invite you to give us a call or visit or web site at www.fortwaynedefense.com for more information.