You may have been pulled over for a routine traffic check. After the police officer ran your plates, the officer informed you that your driver’s license was suspended. You are now charged with a misdemeanor crime of operating after suspension. You are wondering can you still be charged with OAS if I didn’t know my license was suspended.
The question (I didn’t know my license was suspended. Can I still be charged with OAS?) is probably one of the first questions I receive from potential clients who are facing a criminal charge of Operating After Suspension (OAS). I can understand how they feel, because many people in their situation feel that they are law-abiding citizens, and that they would not have gotten behind the wheel if they had known that their driver’s license was suspended.
Usually, people expect to get some kind of notice in the mail from the Maine Bureau of Motor Vehicles informing them specifically that their license is under suspension and informing them of the reason why their license is going under suspension. However, things do not always work out so clearly. As a result, a person’s license can go under suspension legally without ever having received a formal notice. If the police officer tells you that your license is suspended when you are pulled over, then this is your notice that your driver’s license has been suspended.
At this point you may be wondering why this is the case. When the BMV sends you a notice in the mail about your driver’s license, the BMV is only required to send the notice to your last known address with them. This may not even be the address you have on your license. The BMV is not required to track you down at your updated address, and the BMV does not allow its mail to be forwarded to your new address if you recently moved. This means that if you did not update your contact information with the BMV the last time that you moved, then the BMV will not have your current information. As a result, you might not receive the suspension notice in the mail. This does not mean that the BMV cannot suspend your driver’s license.
Unfortunately, the answer to the question (I didn’t know my license was suspended. Can I still be charged with OAS?) is yes. Not knowing that your license was suspended is not a defense to a criminal charge of OAS. A criminal charge for OAS is what is called a “strict liability crime.” A “strict liability” “strict liability” means that the elements of an Operating After Suspension (OAS) charge do not take into consideration the accused’s intent or state of mind when contemplating the crime. If you license was suspended, and you were caught behind the wheel, then it is OAS, period.
Not withstanding the elements for an OAS, your best move is to mount a defense and fight the criminal OAS charge at court. Our committed legal team is determined to take immediate action to seek a positive case outcome. If you or someone you know is charged with a Maine Operating After Suspension Charge, I encourage you to contact The Nielsen Group for your free legal consultation with an experienced criminal defense attorney. We will take the time to answer your questions and to put your mind at ease as we work with you to determine a defense strategy.
It is well worth your time to check out:
If you would like to call us now at (207) 571-8555, we can begin to develop your case strategy.
If you enjoyed this answer to the question (I didn’t know my license was suspended. Can I still be charged with OAS?), you may also want to read:
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