Driver’s license suspensions can come in two forms: Administrative or Court-Ordered. Administrative suspensions are suspensions that the Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) enacts on your record if you get an applicable ticket or have failed to do something required by the BMV. Some of the most common administrative suspensions are failing to carry insurance and being a habitual traffic violator (we’ll get to this later). Alternatively, court-ordered suspensions are suspensions that a court has imposed on an individual. These often arise when a person is convicted of Operating While Intoxicated or similar crimes where operating a motor vehicle is involved.
In Indiana, your driver’s license can be suspended for a multitude of reasons—failing to keep insurance, unsatisfied civil judgments, driving crimes—the list is truly too long to include everything. However, there are remedies and ways to clean up your record that get you driving again. If you have questions or would like to look into problems with your Indiana driver’s license suspensions, contact us.
How Do You Find Out if You Have a Driver’s License Suspension on Your Record?
The easiest way to determine if there are any suspensions on your record is to make an account at www.mybmv.com. This a completely free portal through the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles that allows you to access your driving record. On your driving record, there is a section titled “Suspensions” that will show all the suspensions you have ever had. In addition to telling, you the reason for the suspension, there will also be a range of dates. That range of dates shows when the suspension began and when it ended (or is slated to end). These are often in bold, but be sure to check all of the end dates for any suspensions to be sure.
Once you find out what suspensions are still active on your record, you can begin working on either getting those lifted or getting specialized driving privileges that allow you to drive while your license is suspended.
What Driver’s License Suspensions Can Be Lifted from My Record?
To start, some suspensions can be lifted from your record. Often, the ones that can be lifted relate to unsatisfied civil judgments, failure to attend a driver safety course, and lifetime Habitual Traffic Violator Suspensions. Let’s break those down:
- With an unsatisfied civil judgment, many people can contact the entity or person who is owed to arrange a payment plan or settlement. As part of that negotiation, you can ask that they submit documentation to either the applicable court or the BMV (depending on your county) to lift the suspension.
- If at any point you have failed to attend a driver safety course that was required due to a ticket or infraction, the BMV will suspend your license indefinitely. This means you cannot drive until you take that class. These classes are relatively quick and easy to get into, and once the BMV has proof of your attendance, that suspension will be lifted!
- 3Lastly, and most complicated, is if you have a lifetime Habitual Traffic Violator suspension. These suspensions arise when you have several qualifying infractions or driving-related convictions. They can be Court-Ordered or Administrative, depending on your circumstances, but these suspensions don’t have to be for a lifetime. As long as you have not been convicted of very serious driving offenses—for example, Operating a Motor Vehicle while Intoxicated Causing Death or Serious Bodily injury—you can probably seek to have that suspension lifted. In the legal world, this is called a “Petition for Recission of Lifetime Suspension.” These need to be filed with a court and usually require a hearing. A person is typically eligible to file one of these after 10 years have passed since the lifetime suspension began. Sometimes though, they can be rescinded in as little as 3 years. These are bit tricky—contacting a local Indiana attorney is your best bet.
What to Do If You Can’t Get a Driver’s License Suspension Lifted
Now that we’ve walked through Indiana driver’s license suspensions and how to get some of them lifted, the question remains: What do you do if you can’t have a suspension lifted? Specialized Driving Privileges are your answer.
A court can essentially give you permission to drive to necessary places at designated times while your license is suspended. A petition must be filed with the appropriate court designating the locations you wish to drive to and at what times.
After a petition is filed, there is a hearing with the court, the State of Indiana, and the BMV. You will be questioned about your license suspensions, any past driving-related convictions, and your ability to follow a court’s order. You or your attorney will then explain to the court why Specialized Driving Privileges are a good fit and ask the court to grant the petition. The only caveat is that in Indiana, special insurance is required. To get Specialized Driving Privileges, consulting an attorney is your best option due to technicalities on what needs to be filed and where, as well as eligibility requirements.
Contact a Lawyer Now for Driver’s License Suspension Issues
While this post is not by any means exhaustive, it will get you started on knowing what your record looks like, as well as different avenues you can explore to start cleaning up license suspensions. If you are having issues with suspensions of your driver’s license, the time to talk to a traffic lawyer is NOW.
What can start as minor inconveniences can add up over time and can even result in Habitual Traffic Violator (HTV) suspensions, for periods from five to ten years. Operating While Suspended as an HTV is a Level 6 felony. It gets worse: if you are convicted of Operating While Suspended as an HTV, you can have your driver’s license suspended for life. And, if you are caught driving on a lifetime suspension, you will be facing a level 5 felony and looking at one to six years in prison.
Life is too short to be getting in trouble for driving on a suspended license. Contact one of the trained Indiana defense attorneys at The Criminal Defense Team today to speak about getting your driver’s license validated or obtaining Specialized Driving Privileges. We have several lawyers with extensive knowledge of the Indiana traffic code and the workings of traffic court, and we can help. With offices in Franklin, Indianapolis, and Noblesville, we are the firm to call if you need a traffic lawyer.