Most people are mistakenly concerned about the number of points they have on their license, due to misdemeanor or traffic offenses. This is a valid concern; however there are other more serious concerns a driver should have about his or her record. Drivers should be more concerned about an accumulation of certain types of offenses that can cause major license suspensions.
Another mistake drivers make is thinking that all notations of an offense on their driving records drop off after three years. Such is not true. In fact, the Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) has a complete driving record on each driver, reflecting everything that driver has been cited for in their entire driving history.
Because of habitual traffic violator laws, it is actually the last 10 years that a driver should be most concerned about.
II. Statutory Categories Of Habitual Traffic Violator Laws
If a driver has more than one conviction of certain specified traffic offenses, he or she may be classified by the BMV as a habitual traffic violator or HTV. There are three categories of habitual traffic violators, which we call (1) The Big; (2) The Bad; and (3) The Ugly.
(1) The Big (9-30-10-4(c))
The BMV will classify you as a 4(c) habitual violator if you have accumulated at least 10 judgments within a 10-year period for any traffic violation other than parking or equipment failure tickets not arising from the same incident. At least one of the judgments must be from category 1 or 2 above.
If you are classified under this category, your license will be suspended for five years. 9-30-10-5(b)(3). In addition, you may apply for a probationary license immediately if you have not previously been placed on the same kind of probation; you can show that you operate a vehicle for commercial purposes that causes you to drive more miles than the average person; and you do not have any violations from category (2) and fewer than three (3) from category (2). 9-30-10-9(A).
(2) The Bad (9-30-10-4(A))
The BMV will classify you as a 4(a) habitual violator if you have accumulated at least two convictions within a 10-year period not arising from the same incident, from the following list of charges:
- Reckless homicide resulting from operation of a motor vehicle
- Voluntary or involuntary manslaughter resulting from the operation of a motor vehicle
- Failure of the driver of a motor vehicle involved in an accident resulting in death or injury to stop at the scene
- Operation of a vehicle while intoxicated resulting in death
- Operation of a vehicle with a BAC of .08-.14 grams, or .15 grams of alcohol or higher resulting in death
A person found by the BMV to be an HTV under this category will have his or her license suspended for 10 years. 9-30-10-5(b)(1). In addition, you will not be able to obtain a probationary driving license for the entire 10 years.
(3) The Ugly (9-30-10-4(b))
This is the most severe category. The BMV will classify you as a 4(b) habitual violator if you have accumulated at least three convictions within a 10-year period not arising from the same incident, from the following list of charges:
- Operation of a vehicle while intoxicated
- Operation of a vehicle with a BAC of .08-.14 grams or .15 grams of alcohol or higher
- Operation of a vehicle while suspended as a misdemeanor (where the suspension was because of the conviction of an offense)
- Operation of a vehicle without ever having a license
- Reckless driving
- Criminal recklessness
- Drag racing (speed contest)
- Various charges regarding failure to stop at the scene of an accident
- Or any felony involving a vehicle
A person found by the BMV to be an HTV under this category will have his or her license suspended for 10 years. 9-30-10-5(b) 2. In addition, you will not be eligible for a probationary license to drive for five years. 9-30-10-9(b). (Except in very rare circumstances involving a driver who has only accumulated certain operating while suspended offenses. 9-30-10-9(d)).
- If a person is granted a probationary license while classified as an HTV and the person then violates the terms of the probationary license, the license may be revoked and the person will then serve out the remainder of the HTV suspension without receiving another probationary license (9-30-10-12).
- If person is arrested for driving while suspended while classified as HTV, the person can be charged with a class D felony and the person's license, if convicted of the felony, will be suspended for life (9-30-10-16).
- If a person is arrested for driving while HTV for life, the person can be charged with a class C felony.
- New laws are currently under review that may drastically change the habitual traffic violator (HTV) laws. These new laws could completely change how these classifications are made in the future. Rest assured that at Arnold Terrill Anzini, P.C., we are keeping an eye on this situation and will be ready to deal with any changes.