I just received a call from a gentleman who recently pled out in District Court to driving on a suspended license, 2 counts, and negligent operation of a motor vehicle. The nitwit public defender handling his case informed the man that by pleading out and paying the court costs, her client would be able to apply for a hardship license. Nothing could be further from the truth. When the gentleman pled out, he triggered a 4 year loss of license under the habitual traffic offender law and additional automatic license suspensions triggered by convictions for operating after suspension and negligent operation. Now, he will not be eligible for hardship consideration for quite some time and he will have to go to the Board of Appeal, instead of the Registry. The RMV will not grant hardship licenses in circumstances such as these, where there are multiple habitual traffic offender and recent operating after suspension charges. Given the man’s long driving and criminal records, it is highly unlikely that the Board of Appeal will afford him any relief either, especially with the new convictions on his record. These convictions were the product of this man following bad legal advice, given from a lawyer who had no understanding of the collateral consequences associated with convictions of automobile law violations.
The above-mentioned disaster stands in contrast to another situation where a criminal defense lawyer contacted me to find out, with certainty, what the consequences would be to a conviction for 2nd offense DUI, with the first offense occurring more than 10 year ago, where her client refused the breathalyzer. This lawyer knew enough to realize what she didn’t know and she found a resource, so that she could get the right answer and properly represent and advise her DUI client.