Almost every week I hear from people who have just been informed that they have been habitualized in the worst way. Apparently, ordinary people (not defense lawyers) trust the government and just pay a fine on a traffic ticket, especially when that fine is overdue. A common complaint will go something like this: “I just paid a ticket to get my license back and now I am being told that I am a Habitual Traffic Offender and my license is gone for five (5) years.” Almost always the ticket that was paid recently is for driving on a suspended license.
What the court clerk will not or does not say is that paying your ticket is an admission of guilt meaning that you will have a conviction and points on your driving history. The conviction date is the date the citation is paid, not when it is received. Having three (3) convictions for listed offenses within five (5) years means losing a license for five (5) years and there is no hardship license available for one (1) year.
Practically speaking what happens is that a person attempts to reinstate the license that is suspended and in doing so makes sure that all outstanding tickets are taken care of and paid. Several callers just had their license reinstated, are holding a new license and do not understand why they were not warned that the consequence of merely paying a citation would be losing the license again. Worse, I have represented people who were told the completely wrong thing by the Clerk of the Courts or law librarian. In this instance the government is not your friend but they will take your money and suspend your license.
Acting quickly can mean a chance that to reverse the points and the corresponding habitual suspension. The longer a person waits, the worse the chances become at reversing anything. We will likely have to purchase a lifetime or complete driving history in order to assist in the matter. There is no reason to just pay a ticket without talking to a traffic lawyer first. To learn if we can help please click or call for a consultation.
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