There are plenty of people out there who are considered habitual traffic offenders. They can’t stop getting into trouble and seriously have no concern for the other drivers out on the road. According to the California Vehicle Code, someone is considered a habitual traffic offender when they keep accumulating points due to repeated traffic offenses. They may also be considered habitual traffic offenders if they continue to drive on a revoked or suspended license as a result of accumulated points. A Los Angeles drunk driving lawyer is the first person you should call in an instance like this.
Let’s take a closer look at what a habitual traffic offender does. Let’s say someone has their license suspended due to a DUI. Your license can be suspended for up to six months for your first DUI. Despite having the DUI and suspended license, someone still gets multiple speeding tickets in a short amount of time when they shouldn’t even be driving.
This can also describe someone who has their license revoked and they still continue to drive. If they make a wrong turn or misjudge a red light and the camera catches them, they can be considered a habitual traffic offender. Sadly, many people continue to drive even if their license is suspended. They can rack up multiple DUIs and put the lives of others in danger. And in some instances, there is a valid legal defense for why they continue to drive.
It’s very possible that someone didn’t know that their license was suspended. They may also have continued to drive out of absolute necessity. Let’s say you had an injury or your wife was going into labor. Maybe you felt that you would lose your job and you had no other way to get to work. These might be valid legal defenses against being considered a habitual traffic offender. You may also believe you were falsely arrested and plan to hammer that out in court.
The Penalties of Being a Habitual Traffic Offender
Once again, you may be considered a habitual traffic offender if you drive on a revoked or suspended license and you continue to add more points to your driving record as a result of risky driving behavior that resulted in tickets or even arrests. If you’re driving on a suspended license and are pulled over, that can usually result in being sent to County Jail for up to 30 days and can include a fine up to $1,000.
If you’re arrested a second time, you may end up in jail for 180 days and the fine is doubled to $2,000. In order for a prosecutor to act against you, they will have to prove several things to the judge. It goes beyond just proving that you were indeed driving the vehicle and that your driving privileges were taken away. They also have to prove that you knew that your license was suspended and that you received two or more tickets and/or convictions within a period of one year.
If you’re being accused of being a habitual traffic offender, you have a right to defend yourself against such charges. These charges can result in jail time and thousands of dollars in fines. That means you don’t want to take this lightly, especially if the charges are untrue. You can challenge the accusation by hiring a Los Angeles drunk driving lawyer to defend your case.
Once again, you have to have knowledge of your license being suspended. The prosecutor will have to prove this in court. Usually, the DMV will send you a letter stating that you have been suspended and are unable to drive a vehicle. If you do not receive this letter or you are pulled over before you did receive it, that is a valid legal defense. You can assert that you never had enough time, notice, or knowledge that your license was suspended and thus, the charge of being a habitual traffic offender is untrue.
Did You Drive Out of Necessity?
Driving out of necessity is another valid legal defense. You had good reason to be on the road. There are several instances in which this could be true. If there’s an emergency, then you had no other choice but to drive. The laws don’t make it easy for someone who had a DUI or had multiple tickets. Suddenly when you license is revoked your whole life in turn upside down.
How do you get to work? What if you’re taking care of elderly family members or a pregnant spouse? Something might happen which will force you to drive and break the law by speeding to take care of the emergency. By understanding that this is a valid legal defense against being considered a habitual traffic offender, hiring an attorney is the best way to fight back.
Were You Falsely Arrested?
Just because you are arrested doesn’t mean you’re guilty of the crime. Mistakes can happen. If you committed a traffic offense or an accident happens that you’re involved in, sometimes the police will rush to judgment about who was at fault. It may not be easy to find someone who was an eyewitness to the situation. That means prosecutors do not have the ability to always prove beyond reasonable doubt that you committed the crime or that you caused the accident to happen.
Under California law, if a prosecutor cannot prove beyond reasonable doubt, the charges against you should be dismissed. There has to be eyewitness accounts proving that you were at fault. Again, this is why you should not sit on your hands and allow a false charge to go against you. You should hire a defense attorney immediately who understands the process and can build a case that will prove that reasonable doubt exists and thus the charge should be dropped.