Written by attorney Linda Medeiros Callahan

Habitual Traffic Offender (HTO) Guide

How long will I lose my license? The length of a HTO revocation is subject to a seven-year minimum (unless you successfully obtain early reinstatement after waiting four years) and DOL might invoke an even longer revocation.

What violations count toward HTO status? Only certain criminal convictions count in determining if a driver is an HTO. Those convictions include:

· Vehicular Homicide

· Vehicular Assault

· DUI (whether alcohol or drug related)

· Physical Control (whether alcohol or drug related)

· Driving While License Suspended or Revoked in the Second Degree

· Hit-and-Run Attended resulting in the injury or death of any person or damage to any vehicle

· Reckless Driving

· Attempting to Elude a Pursuing Police Vehicle

If you have three of the listed convictions within five years, you will receive notice from the DOL of intent to revoke your license. Certain traffic infractions (tickets) may also combine and lead to license revocation. A driver may be considered an HTO for committing a combination of the following convictions and tickets, called “moving violations":

· DUI (whether drug or alcohol related)

· Physical Control (whether drug or alcohol related)

· Vehicular Homicide

· Vehicular Assault

· Reckless Driving

· Racing

· Embracing

· Hit-and-run (injury, death, or occupied vehicle)

· Attempting to Elude a Police Vehicle

· Driving While Suspended or Revoked

· Reckless Endangerment of Roadway Workers

· Driver Under Twenty-One Driving or in Physical Control After consuming Alcohol

· Driving or Physical Control of Commercial Motor Vehicle While Having Alcohol in System

· Open container Violation (driver)

· Negligent Driving in the First Degree

· Negligent Driving in the Second Degree

· Hit-and-run (unattended vehicle or property)

· Disobey Road Sign

· Disobey Signalman, Officer, or Firefighter

· Disobey School Patrol

· Speed (too fast for conditions)

· Speeding (over the speed limit)

· Speeding in a School Zone

· Failure to Stop

· Failure to Yield Right of Way

· Failure to Keep to the Right

· Wrong Way on a One-Way Street/Rotary Traffic Island

· Improper Lane Change/Travel

· Straddling or Driving Over Centerline

· Driving on the Wrong side of the Road

· Crossing Divider

· Improper Entrance to/Exit from Freeway

· High Occupancy Vehicle Lane Violation

· Improper Overtaking/Passing

· Passing Stopped School Bus

· Passing Stopped Private Carrier Bus

· Following too Closely

· Following Fire Apparatus

· Crossing Fire Hose

· Driving on Sidewalk

· Driving Through Safety Zone

· Driving with Wheels Off Roadway

· Impeding Traffic

· Improper Turn

· Prohibited Turn

· Failure to Signal/Improper Signal

· Improper Backing

· Unlawful Operation of Motorcycle on Roadway

· Reckless Endangerment

· Failure to Maintain Control

· Violation of License Restriction(s)

· Violation of Instruction Permit Restrictions

· Violation of Out-of-Service Order

· Obstructed Vision or Control

· Carrying Persons or Animals Outside of Vehicle

· Carrying Passenger in Towed Vehicle

· Coasting on Downgrade

· Violation of Child Restraint Requirements

· Carrying Child Under Five on Motorcycle

· Carrying Passenger Improperly on Motorcycle

· No Helmet, Goggles, Mirrors, Windshield or Face Shield

· Motorcycle Handlebars Above Maximum Height

· Operating Moped on Freeway/Sidewalk

· Illegal, Improper, Defective, or Missing Vehicle Equipment

· Driving Without Lights

· Failure to Dim Lights

· Operating Motorcycle Without Lights

· No Lamp, Reflector, or Flag on Extended Load

· Unnecessary Noise

· Wearing Earphones/Viewing Television in Vehicle

· Permitting Illegal Vehicle Operation

· Failure to Secure Load

· Spilling Load

· Improper Towing

If you have twenty or more of the listed convictions and/or infractions within five years and at least three were within 365 days of the last incident, you will receive notice from the DOL of its intent to revoke your license.

How long do I have to request a hearing? When you receive notice that your license will be revoked, you have 15 days to request a hearing. This is a strict requirement. If you do not respond in time, you waive your right to a hearing. DOL must notify you of the date and time of the hearing at least 10 days in advance. After you request a hearing, you will continue to have driving privileges pending the hearing officer’s decision.

What will happen at the hearing? The hearing will be telephonic unless granted to be in-person. If you are not available by telephone within 20 minutes of the scheduled time, you will lose. Notify DOL immediately if your contact information changes. The hearing officer will admit “exhibits" into the record, which will allow the hearing officer to consider those items in his or her final decision. You or your lawyer will have an opportunity to object to the admission of the evidence or to admit evidence for your side. Finally, you may make legal arguments and you can submit legal briefs.

What are the issues at the hearing? The issues at an HTO revocation hearing are:

  • Whether the record of convictions contains the requisite number of violations
  • Whether the driver was advised of the right to counsel before pleading guilty to underlying crime(s) (in some cases; IF you served jail time and can show sufficient evidence of the constitutional violation)
  • Whether the driver qualifies for a conditional stay (A conditional stay may be available where the traffic violations arose from alcohol or drug dependency. Such drivers may be able successfully to request a stay of the lengthy license revocation if they have been participating in (for at least 60 days) or have completed a qualifying alcohol or drug dependency treatment program. Laying down a solid basis of evidence to persuade DOL to grant a stay may be difficult, depending on the nature of the underlying convictions and/or infractions. Requesting a stay is also a substantial commitment; if a stay is granted, any violation of the terms of the conditional stay agreement while it is in place is grounds for reinstatement of the original license revocation.)

What will happen after the hearing? The hearing officer decides you case and send you a written decision. If the revocation is uphled, you will have 30 days to appeal in the superior court. You may also be able to request a conditional stay if you become eligible for one after the hearing. You may also be able to request an early reinstatement hearing.

  • Early reinstatement hearing: You may apply for early reinstatement after four years of the revocation have passed and in most cases only if DOL does not have evidence of driving within the last two years. Whether you qualify for early reinstatement will be determined by the type of the violations involved, the treatment status of any underlying drug or alcohol dependency, the length of time since your license was revoked, and/or the length of time since you last drove. You will have to submit a good amount of evidence that you no longer pose a risk to others on the road. Winning the hearing means you conditionally will be able to drive but will be subject to another revocation if you violate any of the conditions. Losing the hearing means you have to wait another year before you can request early reinstatement again.

How do I get my license back after the revocation period is over? Even if the period of revocation is over, you can still be arrested and charged for driving while license revoked if you have not reinstated your license. If you are unsure of the current status of your driving license or about what incident(s) have been reported on your driving record, you can request a copy of the record from DOL. After the revocation period is over, you must request a hearing to ask DOL to reinstate your license. The issue at the hearing will be whether there is good cause to reinstate your license.

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