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Overturning an HTO Suspension

Even though the DMV has suspended your license for 5 years as a Habitual Traffic Offender, HTO attorney John Guidry will help you obtain your full license back, depending upon the legal basis of the five year suspension. A five year DL suspension as a Habitual Traffic Offender (HTO) is a result of three (3) strikes/’convictions’ on qualifying offenses within a five year period. These qualifying offenses include any combination of DUI, Leaving the Scene of an Accident, or Driving on a Suspended License convictions. Note that the DMV’s interpretation of ‘conviction’ sometimes includes a ‘withhold of adjudication’ if the Driving While License Suspended charge was a criminal case.Obtaining a Hardship License on an HTO Suspension

First, let’s talk about how to get a hardship license under an HTO suspension. Typically, a driver with a 5 year Habitual Traffic Offender suspension can apply for and receive a Hardship License after one year, if certain conditions are met. First, the driver must not have any driving offenses within that first year. Second, the driver must attend and complete a 12 hour advanced driver class. The DMV can be flexible on these rules, so be sure to call criminal attorney John Guidry once the decision has been made to attempt reinstatement (as our website is not updated as quickly as we would like!) Obtaining a hardship license after one year of the five year suspension is not automatic. The driver must jump thru the hoops DMV requests at an informal hardship review hearing conducted at a local DMV Bureau of Administrative Reviews office (the same office that conducts the DUI suspension formal review hearings).

Procedure for Overturning a 5 Year HTO Suspension

So, what if you don’t want to wait one year, and you want your FULL license back, is there something that can be done? Yes, you may get your full license reinstated before the year suspension is up by overturning the HTO suspension–but first the underlying cause of the 5 year HTO suspension must be determined. Criminal attorney John Guidry will review your driving record, and we’ll hope that the underlying cause of the 5 year suspension is three Driving While License Suspended charges within a 5 year period–only then will you have a shot at getting your license back. Why?

Here’s the process. The DMV considers ALL driving while license suspended charges as qualifying toward your “3 strikes” HTO suspension. Of those three offenses, we’re looking to attack an underlying offense that of two types. (1) a civil infraction ticket paid by the driver without knowledge of the consequences later or, (2) a criminal plea entered without knowledge of the consequences.

Some courts have held that a driver is entitled to withdraw his plea to a criminal driving while license suspended in cases where the plea was entered without the advice of an attorney and without a judge’s warning that the plea could result in more serious consequences later (i.e., a 5 year suspension down the road). Technically, the DMV’s 5 year HTO suspension is considered a ‘collateral consequence’ of entering a plea–and thus some courts claim this is not a reason to withdraw the plea–nonetheless some courts have allowed a driver to withdraw a plea under these circumstances. The best line of attack involves a driver’s first or second DWLS case, as it’s more likely that the driver did not have an attorney early on, and it’s also more likely that a first DWLS was “without knowledge” and thus considered an infraction (the infractions are the easiest cases to overturn…).

Once that plea is withdrawn by the court (and it only takes one out of the three cases!), HTO attorney John Guidry contacts the DMV demanding the immediate removal of the 5 year HTO suspension, and poof!, your DL is reinstated in it’s full, original glory.

Give us a call to talk about your situation, it’s a free to talk. Don’t be shy, free is good!

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