This website contains a good deal of content pertaining to Maine driver’s license suspensions, as well as how dire the circumstances are for someone designated as a Habitual Offender, whose driver’s license is revoked. As a reader, you might be wondering how do individuals become Habitual Offenders in the first place? Here is the process for how an individual becomes a Habitual Offender:
Step One: Accumulate Driving Convictions
In Maine, Habitual Offender status is designated on an individual who has accumulated one of the following:
- Three (3) driving-related crimes within a five (5) year period
- Ten (10) civil adjudications for traffic infractions resulting in demerit points being added to your driving record
- A combination of ten (10) total criminal convictions and civil adjudications from bullet points 1 and 2.
The number one way that these convictions pile up is ignoring them. If you ignore the accumulating pile of criminal convictions and civil adjudications, you can accumulate enough to be designated a Habitual Offender.
This is why I advocate strongly fighting all driving crimes and violations, regardless of how small they appear seem at first.
Step Two: Notice of Habitual Offender from the BMV
On your last qualifying violation or driving-related criminal conviction that goes on your driving record, the Maine Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) will generate a Notice informing you that you are about to become designated as a Habitual Offender. Typically, the BMV only has to send the notice to your last known address with the BMV. Even if you do not receive the notice, you can still be placed on Habitual Offender revocation.
In the event that the notice was returned to the BMV because you do not live there anymore, this would make it more difficult for the State to convict you for a charge of Operating After Habitual Offender Revocation 29-A M.R.S.A. Section 2557-A.
Section 2557-A. Operating after habitual offender revocation
- Operating after habitual offender revocation. A person commits operating after habitual offender revocation if that person.
- Operates a motor vehicle on a public way, as defined in Title 17-A, section 505, subsection 2, when that person’s license to operate a motor vehicle has been revoked under this subsection or former Title 29, chapter 18-A and that person:
- Has received written notice of the revocation from the Secretary of State;
- Has been orally informed of the revocation by a law enforcement officer;
- Has actual knowledge of the revocation; or
- Is a person to whom written notice was sent in accordance with section 2482 or former Title 29, section 2241, subsection 4. (which states in pertinent part)
- (A.) Must be sent to the last name and address provided under section 1407 or, if the person has not applied for a license, on record with the Secretary of State; (B.) Must be sent to the address provided in the report of the law enforcement officer if that address differs from the address of record; or (C.) May be served in hand.
Step Three: Opportunity for Hearing Before Revocation
The Notice from the BMV will contain a date on which your license will be revoked (suspended indefinitely). The Notice will inform you also that you have the right to an administrative hearing to challenge the revocation.
Since you have the opportunity for a hearing, you should take advantage of this opportunity, and have a criminal defense lawyer represent you at the hearing. There are certain convictions that cannot be counted towards a potential Habitual Offender Status. Your lawyer will assure that all of the convictions and violations cited by the BMV are valid. Even when you request a hearing, your license will go under revocation on the date indicated on the Notice.
Step Four: Revocation of your Driver’s License
Finally, on the date scheduled on the notice, your license becomes revoked on Habitual Offender designation. The typical HO revocation period is for six (6) years. Once the HO designation has gone into effect, there are almost no opportunities for relief. If you have not violated your Habitual Offender status in three (3) years, you gain the only opportunity for relief from Habitual Offender status as follows in 29-A M.R.S.A. Section 2554.
Section 2554. Relief from habitual offender status
- Petition for relief. After 3 years from the date of revocation, a person may petition for relief from habitual offender status. The petition must be presented to the Secretary of State.
- Grant of relief by Secretary of State. If public safety will not be endangered and the person has complied with the financial responsibility requirements chapter 13, subchapter 11, the Secretary of State may relieve the person from status as an habitual offender and restore the person’s Even after license reinstatement, the risk of going back on HO designation lingers for many years. Just one slip-up with a driving crime from 5 years of your reinstatement date and your license is once again revoked.
Overall, since it can be extremely difficult to fight your Habitual Offender designation once your case gets beyond Step One, it is often your best course of action to fight the charges while they are pending at Court.
Regardless whether you are facing a criminal driving charges or been notified of a pending Habitual Offender Designation, you want a dedicated legal team to take positive action in your case. If you or someone you know is facing Habitual Offender Revocation in Maine, 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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