Do you have multiple speeding tickets? Frequent accidents? Several DUI offenses? States often have specific laws providing for drivers who are repeatedly cited for vehicle offenses. Despite programs designed to retrain drivers with poor habits, repeat offenders continue to create dangerous, serious situations on our nation's roads. In Washington, there are laws to give special attention to those drivers who are cited frequently for traffic offenses within a given period of time. These drivers are known as Habitual Traffic Offenders (HTOs).
Habitual Traffic Offenders are often stripped of their driving privileges under certain circumstances. Authorities can designate this status for drivers in two situations. First, a driver convicted of more than 20 or more moving violations within a five-year period can be noted as a Habitual Traffic Offender. Offenses may include speeding, racing, DUI, or vehicle violations. Three violations must have occurred within the last 365 days. The second instance that can lead a driver being designated a HTO is being convicted of three or more serious violations within a five-year period. These serious violations include vehicular homicide, vehicular assault, or reckless driving. The law requires that HTOs appear for a hearing to restore their driving privileges.
What Penalties Can Apply to Habitual Traffic Offenders?
When offenses lead to a HTO status, Washington courts will rule that the HTO will have their license revoked for a minimum of four years. When the four years have passed, the offender may petition the court to have their license reinstated. This can be a partial or a complete reinstatement and it is not automatic. When a person receives a HTO letter, it is up to them to apply for reinstatement. To qualify for reinstatement, the HTO must meet certain criteria.
- Complete the four-years HTO status.
- No driving for two years.
- Meet any alcohol requirements, if necessary.
- Comply with treatment.
- Wait at least one year to reapply (if the driver was denied reinstatement in the past).
The best way to deal with HTO status is to avoid it in the first place. If you have past convictions and are currently facing charges that could lead to a HTO designation, you should speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney. A skilled Washington attorney can fight your charges and help you avoid a conviction, which will circumvent any possible HTO status for you. Steve Karimi, a former prosecutor, worked to prosecute criminal cases for years in Washington courts. Today, he helps citizens like you to fight their traffic convictions. A HTO designation is serious and can impact your life in many ways. Call Karimi Law today to schedule your appointment. When you are informed, you can win.