We all know what a beautiful state Maine is. The best way to get out and about in Maine is to drive. We drive our kids to basketball and soccer practice. We drive to work. We drive to do grocery shopping. We drive because it is a uniquely American experience. While being able to drive a car legally feels like a necessity, the State of Maine considers your driver’s license to be a privilege. A Maine Habitual Offender Revocation can indefinitely suspense your Maine Driver’s License. Once the State executes a Maine Habitual Offender Revocation there are few opportunities for relief.
If you or someone you know is facing Maine Habitual Offender revocation, please contact me at The Nielsen Group. Our first legal consultation is always a free opportunity to answer your questions and help ease your worries. This article is intended to help those who are facing a Maine Habitual Offender Revocation understand what leads up to the notice of revocation.
- What is a Maine Habitual Offender Revocation?
- What are the minimum sentences for a Maine Habitual Offender Revocation?
- How a Habitual Offender Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help?
- Is there any relief from Habitual Offender Revocation?
- What about after Habitual Offender Status is over?
- How do you avoid a Maine Habitual Offender Revocation?
What is a Maine Habitual Offender Revocation?
Quite often it is a bit confusing on why the Maine Bureau of Motor Vehicles deemed to place a Habitual Offender Revocation against you.
You become labeled as a Maine Habitual Offender if you have done either of the following:
- Have accumulated at least (3) motor vehicle-related crimes within five years.
- Have accumulated ten (10) or more separate convictions or adjudications for traffic violations with the last five (5) years.
If you would like more information check out Maine Statute 29-A M.R.S.A. §2551-A. Let’s take a look at these criteria, to make sure you understand them.
Maine Habitual Offender Revocation due to accumulated at least (3) motor vehicle-related crimes within five years.
Certain motor vehicle-related criminal convictions are counted towards a Maine Habitual Offender revocation. You need to have been convicted of at least (3) of the following Motor Vehicle Related Crimes, within five (5) years.
- Vehicular Homicide
- Operating Under the Influence (OUI/DUI/DWI)
- Driving to Endanger (DTE, Reckless Driving)
- Operating or Driving After Suspension (OAS)
- Operating Without a License
- Failure to Report an Accident
- Criminal Speeding
- Eluding an Officer
- Passing a Roadblock
- Any crime committed with the use of a motor vehicle
- Convictions for Improper Use/Tampering with an Ignition Interlock Device (IID)
While the above convictions are counted towards Maine Habitual Offender revocation, the following convictions do not count towards a Maine Habitual Offender revocation:
- Operating After Suspension (OAS) due to:
- failure to pay child support
- failure to pay license reinstatement fees
- Operating Without a License when the license has simply expired
- Operating After Suspension as a traffic infraction
One of the benefits of having a Maine Criminal Defense Attorney review your charges is that sometimes the state has incorrectly counted charges towards the Maine Habitual Offender Revocation. Your attorney can quickly identify if the wrong charges are counted towards a Maine Habitual Offender revocation and bring this fact to the attention of the Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV). This scenario, while not common, is just an example of why you need to request a Hearing from the Maine Bureau of Motor Vehicles after you receive notice that you having a Maine Habitual Offender Revocation pending against you. Some examples of an improper basis for the Maine Habitual Offender Revocation are:
- If the State counts one of the afore mentioned convictions for OAS (either the traffic infraction or due to non payment of child support or reinstatement fees or OWL when your license has simply expired)
- If multiple motor vehicle-related offenses that arise out of a single incident are counted more than once. Each incident should be treated as one offense when calculating a Maine Habitual Offender revocation.
Accumulated ten (10) or more separate convictions or adjudications for traffic violations with the last five (5) years.
The Maine Demerit system does not apply to Maine Habitual Offender Revocation. For a Habitual Offender Revocation it is simply a count of how many traffic violations you have had. If you have ten (10) traffic violations against your driving record in the last five (5) years, you qualify for a Habitual Offender Revocation. For example, if you have 6 speeding tickets and 3 tickets for running a red light within the last 4 years. The moment you get the next ticket, give me a call. If you simply plead guilty and all ten traffic violations are within the last five (5) years, you will be placed on Habitual Offender Revocation.
What are the minimum sentences for a Maine Habitual Offender Revocation?
When you receive notice for a Maine Habitual Offender Revocation from BMV, you need to stop driving when the revocation period begins. If you are caught driving and in violation of the Maine Habitual Offender Revocation, you can be accused of Operating after Habitual Offender Revocation. The mandatory minimum penalty for a first offense operating after habitual offender revocation is a fine of $500 and 30 days jail time. This is a class D misdemeanor. If you have been convicted of an OUI within the last 10 years, this aggravating factor raises the minimum fine to $1,000 and the minimum jail time to 6 months. This is aggravated to a class C felony. The mandatory minimum penalty for a second offense operating after habitual offender revocation is a fine of $1000 and 6 months time. The mandatory minimum penalty for a third offense operating after habitual offender revocation is a fine of $1000 and 9 months plus a day jail time (DOC). Second and third offense operating after habitual offender revocation are class C felonies. If you have been convicted of or more OUIs within the last 10 years, this is an aggravating factor raises the minimum fine and minimum jail time.
Let’s get back to the problem at hand if you are facing a Maine Habitual Offender Revocation from BMV. The penalty is simply that your license has been revoked indefinitely. Simply you are no longer licensed to drive.
After 18 months you can apply for a work-restricted driver’s license. You can check out Maine Statute, 29-A, §2556, for further details to see if you would qaulify or be ineligible.. After 3 years, you can petition the Secretary of State to become fully reinstated. You can check out , for further details You should be aware that if, during your period of revocation, you have been convicted of operating after habitual offender revocation or have a charge pending, you can not petition for reinstatement untill at least one year or longer after the date of conviction. Prior to receiving a work restircted license or full reinstatement after petition, you will need to pay your license reinstatement fee.
How a Habitual Offender Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help
Hands down, the most effective defense to a Maine Habitual Offender revocation is to avoid it. This means fighting all motor vehicle related criminal charges. You may think it’s a “minor” traffic infraction or a misdemeanor. What you need to be aware of is in Maine the total count of the offenses which trigger a Maine Habitual offender Revocation. In my experience, some Mainers just do not do not fight these cases. In several Maine Habitual Offender revocation cases, I often get calls from potential clients whose driver’s licenses have already been revoked. In these cases, there is one possible route to take to attempt to avert the ill-effects of a Maine Habitual Offender revocation after the fact. I have used this approach successfully helping clients win an opportunity to fight the charge that triggered the Habitual Offender revocation. Ultimately the latest charge was dismissed, and the client avoids Habitual Offender revocation. Here is an example of some success applying this approach. The strategy I have applied has a two-tiered approach:
Petition the Court to Withdraw the plea to the most recent conviction
Many Habitual Offenders tell a similar story of how they got to where they are. After being charged with a driving-related offense, such as Operating After Suspension (OAS). The person just wanted to get rid of the low level misdemeanor charge as fast as possible. They went to the courthouse. Either pleading guilty at Arraignment, or they signed paperwork essentially filing a guilty plea. They then paid the fine, and forgot about it. These folks rarely speak to an attorney or the lawyer of the day at Court, so they just were not aware of the potential collateral consequences of the conviction, including a Maine Habitual Offender revocation. It is an unpleasant surprise when these people receive the revocation notice from the Maine Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV).
At this stage, I can petition the Court to withdraw the guilty plea which triggered the Maine Habitual Offender revocation. This petition request puts me in the position to help the person fight that criminal charge. Our goal is to get the charge dismissed. It is up to the Court whether or not to grant the request. In my experience, how the Court receives the petition depends on the specific circumstances of the case. If are fortunate enough to win the opportunity to fight the underlying criminal charge, your criminal defense lawyer can work to have that charge dismissed, or have the case resolved in a way that does not end up with a Maine Habitual Offender revocation.
Representation at Bureau of Motor Vehicles Administrative Hearing
Another scenario when facing a Maine Habitual Offender revocation is to use the opportunity to challenge the Maine Habitual Offender revocation at a Bureau of Motor Vehicles Administrative Hearing. In this scenario, I represent the client at this Administrative Hearing to examine whether each conviction that was counted towards Habitual Offender revocation was counted properly. If a conviction was not counted correctly, then it is possible that the person is not a Habitual Offender. Let’s go into this a bit more below.
BMV Administrative Hearing for Maine Habitual Offender Revocation
After your third driving-related conviction, you would receive a letter in the mail from the Maine Secretary of State. This letter indicates your driver’s license is about to be revoked. This is your notification you are being designated H.O. If you have received this letter, just give me a call. My first consultation is always free so that we can talk about your case, answer your questions, and see what can be done. You need to be aware that you just don’t have a lot of time to request an administrative hearing at the BMV in order to challenge the Maine Habitual Offender revocation. In Maine Habitual Offender revocation, no stay is placed on the effective date of the revocation when a hearing is requested. Simply stated the date given for your Maine Habitual Offender Revocation is the date. We can’t postpone or delay it. At the BMV Administrative Hearing, the question raised is what were the three driving-related criminal convictions indicated by the BMV. Did these driving-related criminal offense actually occur? Are they properly counted towards Maine Habitual Offender revocation.
For the Administrative Hearing, a criminal defense attorney’s experience will help in reviewing the BMV’s administrative records and your criminal record. I can quickly identify if there are any inconsistencies or administrative errors which might have resulted in you receiving the Maine Habitual Offender revocation notice. Whomever you choose as your criminal defense attorney they should advocate for you at the Maine Habitual Offender revocation Administrative hearing.
If you prevail at the Administrative Hearing, then your license is not revoked. If you do not prevail at the Administrative Hearing, then you remain under Maine Habitual Offender revocation. Once designated, you become eligible for license reinstatement after six (6) years. Six years is a very long time to be without a driver’s license.
Is there any relief from Habitual Offender Revocation?
Once under Maine Habitual Offender revocation, the State of Maine offers a single opportunity for early relief from that revocation. If the person adheres to their Maine Habitual Offender revocation and does not get behind the wheel for one and a half years, or eighteen (18) months, that person becomes eligible for a work restricted license .Your criminal defense attorney can assist you in petitioning for a work-restricted license. If the BMV grants the petition for a work-restricted license, then the State of Maine places a stay (postponement) on the Maine Habitual Offender revocation, allowing the person to be able to drive to and from work. The work-restricted license cannot be used to drive anywhere else besides work and home.
In the event that you get into any sort of criminal trouble on the road with a Habitual Offender work restricted license, the stay on your Maine Habitual Offender revocation is removed immediately, and you will go back to not being able to drive legally, period.
In contrast, if during your Maine Habitual Offender Revocation, you get caught driving. You would be charged with new criminal conduct for Operating After Habitual Offender Revocation,and you become ineligible for the work-restricted license at the eighteen (18) month mark. In this case, your Maine Habitual Offender revocation would last longer by up to a year before you can petition for full reinstatement under 29-A M.R.S.A. § 2554.
What about after Habitual Offender Status is over?
In this scenario, you have served your Habitual Offender revocation in Maine. Your driver’s license has been reinstated. The best thing you can do is not have any new driving related criminal convictions for the next five (5) years. Once you have your license back after HO status, you have to stay out of trouble on the road. If you slip up just once during the five years post-HO, you would return immediately to Habitual Offender revocation without any appeal or hearing.
Best Defense is to Avoid Maine Habitual Offender Revocation
The best way to avoid the difficulties and challenges of Maine Habitual Offender revocation is to avoid it. Some of the things that you can do to prevent going HO include:
- At all times, know what is on your Maine driving record.
- Do not forget to pay all fines and fees for minor traffic infractions which could result in a suspended driver’s license, no matter how small the fines may be.
- Pay all court fees and fines on time and in full to avoid an unnecessary license suspension.
- Fight all driving-related criminal charges, regardless if they are a misdemeanor of a felony, with the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney.
Contact a Maine Criminal Defense Attorney
Dealing with a Maine Habitual Offender Revocation is difficult business. It is important that you take swift action to have an advocate who knows how to navigate the Maine legal system and the BMV administrative hearing to help assure there is minimal impact to your future. There are proven strategies to fighting a Maine Habitual Offender Revocation. The sooner our legal team becomes involved in the intricate details of case, the more time we will have to do our own fact finding as we help to prepare. Effective action taken by a skilled Maine criminal defense lawyer as soon as the notices is received can assure your chance at an administrative hearing is not lost. It is imperative that you contact our firm as quickly as possible after the arrest.
Our committed legal team is determined to take immediate action to seek a positive case outcome. If you or someone you know is facing a Maine Habitual Offender Revocation, 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.
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