Avoiding Additional Suspension Time for Habitual Traffic Offenders

In Massachusetts, under the Habitual Traffic Offender Law, the Registry of Motor Vehicles is requried to revoke a driver’s license for four (4) years whenever the driver has accumulated any combination of 12 minor violations such as speeding and 3 major violations such as operating after suspension, in any rolling 5 year period. Under this system, once the Registry determines a driver to be a “habitual traffic offender,” any new violations committed within 5 years from the second to last offense used to qualify the driver as a habitual traffic offender will result in the automatic imposition of a new 4 year HTO license revocation.

Also, drivers who are caught operating after suspension will have to serve an adiditional suspension, which the Registry will run after the 4 year habitual traffic offender suspension(s) expire. Many Massachusetts Habitual Traffic Offenders do not understand that a convicition for driivng while suspended will result in an additional license suspension for “operating after” and likely a new four (4) year HTO license revocation.

Under the current system, it is imperative for someone who has been determined to be a Habitual Traffic Offender to not drive during the suspension period. Otherwise, the HTO driver runs the risk of incurring substantial additional suspension time. However, the good news is that Habitual Traffic Offenders can be considered for hardship licensing by either the Registry of Motor Vehicles or the Board of Appeals of the Division of Insurance. Both of these agencies have the legal authority to issue a limited 12 hour license to drivers who have had their licenses revoked as Habitual Traffic Offenders. One of the central issues at these hearings, before either the Registry or the Board, is whether or not the hardship license candidate has been driving during the HTO revocation period. If the Registry sees any “evidence of operation” during the 4 year loss of license, it will not grant hardship relief. Likewise, the Board of Appeals takes a dim view of evidence of operation. The Board members beleive that driving on a suspended license shows a conscious disgregard for the law.

Anyone who has the misfortune of being identiifed as a Habitual Traffic Offender should be careful not to drive during the 4 year HTO revocation, so as to not hurt his or her chances of getting a hardship license and so as to not trigger additional suspension time.