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Let Our Indianapolis Traffic Violation Lawyers Defend Your Driving Privileges
Driving is a privilege in Indiana, and losing that privilege creates serious complications for work and family. If you have been cited for multiple traffic violations within a 10-year period, you might suffer the suspension of your driving privileges as a habitual traffic violator (HTV), Indiana’s term for habitual traffic offenders. To protect your driving privileges, one of the first calls you should make after accruing an additional traffic citation should be to a habitual traffic offender attorney who is prepared to defend your rights as a driver in Indiana. You’ll find the representation you need at Keffer Hirschauer LLP.
When you work with an Indiana driver’s license attorney from our firm, we can actively pursue a favorable outcome for your case and defend your driving privileges. Contact our firm today at (317) 857-0160!
You Need a Habitual Traffic Offender Attorney Who Knows Indiana’s Motor Vehicle Laws
If you have numerous traffic citations, you could be putting yourself at great risk. Not only can various traffic tickets cause your insurance premiums to increase significantly, but you could also lose your driver’s license and, in some cases, also face criminal charges. To protect your driving privileges, you need to contact an Indiana HTV attorney adept at navigating the administrative and the criminal HTV proceedings.
At Keffer Hirschauer LLP, we know that you may be feeling confused about your rights as a driver in Indiana, but we are prepared to defend you and your future. Our experience as Indiana criminal defense attorneys includes a thorough understanding and years of experience handling habitual traffic violation cases. When you need a habitual traffic offender attorney in Indiana, we are dedicated to protecting your rights and your driving privileges.
What is a Habitual Traffic Violator?
Habitual traffic violator status is determined by the BMV based on your driving and criminal records. Indiana Code § 9-30-10-4 details three different categories of habitual traffic violators, and the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) provides a summary of Indiana HTV categories as follows:
- Section A provides for the 10-year suspension if a driver has two major offenses resulting in injury or death but a lifetime license suspension for drivers who accumulate two judgments within a 10-year period of operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated resulting in death or operating a motor vehicle with blood alcohol content of .08 percent or more resulting in death
- Section B provides for a 10-year suspension if a driver has three major offenses
- Section C provides for a 5-year suspension if the driver has committed nine traffic violations plus one major offense
Indiana HTV status is based on the accrual convictions for one or more major offenses. The greater the number or level of the major offenses, the longer the suspension based on your HTV status. The list of major offenses that can be used in the determination of driver’s license suspensions is long, here are some examples:
- Driving while intoxicated or with a blood alcohol content of .08 percent or more
- Reckless driving
- Criminal recklessness as a felony involving the operation of a motor vehicle
- Drag racing or engaging in a speed contest in violation of the law
- Leaving the scene of an accident or failing to notify authorities of an accident when required
- Resisting law enforcement under Indiana Code § 35-44.1-3-1(c)(1)(A), Indiana Code § 35-44.1-3-1(c)(2), Indiana Code § 35-44.1-3-1(c)(3), or Indiana Code § 35-44.1-3-1(c)(4).
- Any felony under an Indiana motor vehicle statute or any felony in which the operation of a vehicle is an element of the offense
The Indiana General Assembly has removed driving while license suspended (DWLS) and operating a vehicle having never received a license from the list of major offenses for HTV purposes. Although these do not count for purposes of HTV status, they are nevertheless serious offenses. Given the breadth of our criminal defense practice, you should consult an Indiana traffic attorney at Keffer Hirschauer LLP for defense against these and other traffic offenses.
Habitual Traffic Violator Notice and Defenses
You become a habitual traffic violator automatically upon accumulating the number of major and minor offenses described above. At that point, the BMV must mail you a notice of your Indiana HTV status. The notice informs you that your driving privileges will be suspended in 30 days. Depending on the underlying convictions, a court appearance is not always necessary before the suspension takes effect.
Consulting knowledgeable counsel in this short time period—before the suspension becomes effective—is critical. Your habitual traffic offender attorney needs to have time to verify your criminal and driving record to determine whether the HTV status is valid. Because HTV notice is provided by mail, it is important that drivers keep a current address on file with the BMV. Not receiving a notice does not relieve the driver from the suspension.
Although Indiana HTV status is in essence automatic, there are some defenses that can lessen the consequences or even beat your HTV classification. For example, a habitual traffic offender attorney can also advise whether enrolling in a driver safety program (DSP) might benefit your driving record.
Additionally, the State must prove that the BMV notified the driver of the particular habitual traffic violator suspension. The lack of notification may result in less severe penalties or, in some cases, having the case dismissed. However, the failure to open or receive notice mailed to you is not a defense.
It is also a defense if the underlying offense was based on operating a vehicle in an extreme emergency, necessary to save life or limb, although you have the burden of proving that defense by a preponderance of the evidence.
Offenses Based on HTV Status
As described above, the BMV determines the length of suspension for HTV status pursuant to statute. But, if a driver is convicted of another driving offense while suspended as a habitual traffic violator, the court will determine the period of suspension. Under Indiana Code § 9-30-10-16, operating while an HTV can be a Level 5 or Level 6 felony, depending on the circumstances and your original length of suspension. This ups the stakes—felony sentences may include jail time, probation, fines, and/or costs, as well as suspension of your driver’s license for an additional term. And, if you accumulate two convictions for impaired driving offenses in 10 years, the court may forfeit your driving privileges for life.
There are so many code sections to contend with that Indiana’s BMV created a habitual traffic violator cheat sheet. Although the cheat sheet summarizes and clarifies the various periods of suspension, the relevant laws are complicated enough—and the stakes are high enough—that working with an experienced habitual traffic offender attorney is crucial.
Relief from Suspended Indiana Driving Privileges
Stays of suspension and specialized driving privileges are possible, but determining eligibility is complicated. In 2015, Indiana repealed the laws allowing probationary or hardship licenses and replaced them with a procedure of obtaining specialized driving privileges. There is no waiting period to apply for this privilege, and it might be granted for employment or other purposes. However, obtaining specialized driving privileges is not just a matter of asking.
When a driver files a request for specialized driving privileges, a prosecuting attorney will appear on behalf of the BMV in response to a petition for specialized driving privileges. Drivers seeking specialized driving privileges are best served by consulting with an attorney with experience handling specialized driving privileges cases. At Keffer Hirschauer LLP, we have experience defending the full breadth traffic offense of operator’s licensure, suspensions, specialized driving privileges, and threats to your commercial driver’s license (CDL).
How a Habitual Traffic Offender Attorney Can Help
Traffic-related offenses may sometimes seem small when they happen, but even small traffic citations can add up to habitual traffic violator status. Call for help from an Indiana habitual traffic offender attorney early in the process—there are more options for defending a driver before rather than after the suspension is in place. At Keffer Hirschauer LLP, we know the value of your Indiana driver’s license. Putting years of experience representing clients in Indiana traffic law and criminal defense cases to work for you, our attorneys aggressively investigate and manage cases involving habitual traffic violations in Indiana, general traffic citations, and Indiana criminal defense matters.
Keffer Hirschauer LLP attorneys include former deputy prosecutors who are familiar with both ends of the process and know how to best represent a client who is seeking relief from the hardship of a suspension. We will guide you step-by-step through the process of determining the validity of your HTV status, attempting steps to correct your driving record, undertaking your representation in any administrative or criminal proceedings, and, as needed, provide representation for criminal defense matters such as DUI, OVWI, and OWI charges.
Whether you’re contesting an HTV notice or fighting operating while a habitual traffic violator, your best chance is by taking immediate action. For a seasoned habitual traffic offender attorney in Indiana, call us today.
Keffer Hirschauer LLP attorneys can be reached by using the firm’s online contact form or by calling (317) 857-0160. We would like to get you back in the driver’s seat, but you need to make a call first.
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