The Massachusetts Habitual Traffic Offender Law

In Massachusetts, a Habitual Traffic Offender is someone who, in any rolling 5 year period, has three or more convictions for operating under the influence of alcohol or narcotics, reckless driving, or leaving the scene of an accident; or twelve or more convictions for other reportable violations such as speeding, failure to stop for a red light or stop sign, failure to stay within marked lanes, etc,

When determining whether someone qualifies as a habitual traffic offender, the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles uses conviction dates and not the dates upon which the motor vehicle offenses were committed. Also, out of state convictions are counted just as if they had occurred in Massachusetts. Once someone is declared a Habitual Traffic Offender, the accumulation of any new qualifying violations will generate additional Habitual Traffic Offender license revocations unless and until the older violations drop outside of the rolling 5 year HTO look-back period.

It is possible to become a Habitual Traffic Offender overnight, in a single incident. For example, suppose a driver is convicted of operating under the influence, which is commonly referred to in Massachusetts as DUI, leaving the scene of an accident, and negligent operation of a motor vehicle. This is a common scenario where a driver is alleged to have crashed into something and left the scene, because he or she had been drinking. In addition to the license suspensions associated with the DUI and the 60 day suspensions for leaving the scene and negligent operation, the driver will automatically be declared a face a Habitual Traffic Offender and face four (4) year revocation of his or her license or right to operate a motor vehicle in Massachusetts.

Someone could lose their license for four (4) years, as a Habitual Traffic Offender, by accumulating minor violations such as speeding tickets over any rolling 5 year period. It is for this reason that drivers should not only drive carefully, but they should also consider appealing traffic citations within the 20 appeal period. Once labeled as Habitual Traffic Offenders, many people regret not having appealed their tickets. Once the 4 year license revocation is triggered, it is too late to appeal.

The good news for Massachusetts Habitual Traffic Offenders is that both the Registry of Motor Vehicles and the Board of Appeal of the Division of Insurance can consider you for a limited 12 hour hardship license, after you have served 1 year of the 4 year mandatory license revocation. It is important not to have any recent charges showing that you were driving on a suspended license, to receive favorable hardship consideration, which is completely discretionary. This means that there is not automatic right to a hardship license, even in the case of a 4 year HTO revocation.

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Criminal Penalties For Aggravated Assault

A law that will decrease simple drug possession and certain property crimes to misdemeanors was passed by the California voters. Statewide ballot returns showed that the law passed with 59 percent of votes.

The proposition known as The Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act, helps in saving almost $200 million in prison costs every year to fund programs that rehabilitate drug addicts, treat mental health requirements, keep kids in school and support crime victims to pay for their medical bills.

In a statement, it was said by Lenore Anderson, chair of the initiative ballot committee, “By passing Proposition 47, California voters show that they understand that the policies of the past have failed and that we cannot incarcerate our way to safety.

Californians do not want to waste any more costly prison space on nonviolent, non-serious offenses”.

According to the supporters, it is good to spend money to keep current and future inmates out of the criminal justice system’s revolving door by giving them treatment. It is also a great method to obey any court orders the state is making efforts to decrease prison populations.

Proposition 47 is not the right method to decrease population in jails, said California’s law enforcement community. It will not force addicts and other low-level criminals to change their habits and behaviors added by the community.

San Diego Police Chief Bill Lansdowne and San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón co-authored the proposition.

On Tuesday night, while celebrating the campaign at a downtown Los Angeles hotel, Lansdowne said, “I think we’re going to provide more treatment than ever before and take a second look at how we implement incarceration. We are going to move forward now as we realize that warehousing people is not the most effective way to fight crime”. He added, “The vote clearly shows they want change, and we need to listen to it”.

Apart from drug possession for personal use being treated as a misdemeanor, the law also pays attention to 5 property crimes under a worth of $950: theft, forgery, writing bad checks, receiving stolen property and shoplifting. A misdemeanor is punishable by up to one year in prison. The proposition also gives a chance to inmates currently serving time for one of those crimes to appeal for resentencing.

Only those offenders who are serving for any serious crime will not be able to get advantage from the resentencing.

While Proposition 47 will help decrease prison populations, it will shift a heavier burden on local jails, probation offices and prosecutors.

On Tuesday night, District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis said, “It’s the law, and we will do everything possible to implement the law within our capabilities. It will have a profound effect on the caseloads of our office and the City Attorney’s Office and the public defenders in particular. And the Sheriff’s Department, they’ll have to look at who’s in custody and all that goes with that”.

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Driving With a Suspended or Revoked License And How To Defend It

The term suspension means that your license has been temporarily taken away from you. Revocation means that it has been permanently taken away from you. In the case of revocation, you are legally not allowed to drive again. If you are caught driving with a suspended or revoked license, it is considered to be a serious crime and you can face criminal charges.

Why Your License May be Suspended or Revoked

There are a number of reasons for which your license may have been either suspended or even revoked. The reasons could range from criminal, civil or because of some kind of driving offence. Your license could also be suspended if you do not pay your child support regularly. It could be suspended if you were found using any controlled substances. It could even be suspended if you have too many traffic violations to your name. Every kind of traffic violation carries a certain number of points and these points add up. If the number of points crosses 12, your license may be suspended.

Criminal charges like commitment of a felony using a vehicle, murder charges while driving, prostitution charges involving a vehicle, etc. could also lead to the suspension or the revocation of your license.

How To Get Your License Reinstated

During the period of suspension or revocation, you are not allowed to drive. Once this period is over, you have to get reinstated before you are allowed to drive again. In cases of revocation, it is necessary to apply for a new license. Only after you get this new license will you be allowed to sit behind the wheel.

It is necessary to pay a reinstatement fee in order to get your license back. For suspension, the fee is $45 in the State of Florida. For revocation, it is $45 plus the fee for the new application. Depending on the reason for suspension or revocation, you may also have to pay a fine. The fine will vary depending on the reason for the suspension or revocation.

Defending the DWLSR Charges

In cases of suspension and revocation of licenses, it is advisable to hire a lawyer. This is because, depending on the reason, you may risk jail time and severe fines. This could lead to a lot of problems in the future ranging from employment to getting insurance. With the help of a lawyer, it will be possible to get the shortest sentence possible and also get advice on how to deal with the whole situation in the best possible way.

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Innocent But Treated Guilty

What happens when you are convicted of crimes due to being forced to work as a prostitute and want a fresh start? Are there any opportunities for you to change your life around?

This was the case for a 57 year old woman from Queens who was forced by an ex boyfriend to become a prostitution and has been denied for many jobs including airplane cabins, cleaning offices overnight and working in concession stands. These are only some of the low wage jobs which she has been rejected because of the extensive criminal record she has. She does not deny the 133 times that she has been convicted.

However, having this criminal record should not punish her to a life struggle because these crimes were the result of being forced by an abusive ex boyfriend for 17 years to work as a prostitute.

It is not as if these crimes were committed consciously, her ex boyfriend had her influenced to a point where she feared her safety. If she would not cooperate with what he would tell her to do there would be consequences. She was not able to discuss the abuse she was obtaining, having a constant black eye and never having the ability to escape because he would find her and always bring her back into that world. A life of violence.

Even though she was able to escape from her captor in 1990, her criminal record still followed her making it difficult for her to find job opportunities. However, thanks to a New York State law that serves the purpose to assist those that have been forced to become prostitutes to be considered as victims and have all her convictions erased, rather than as a criminal.

This law was first presented in 2010 which grants convictions that are associated with sexual trafficking to be eliminated from an individual’s record. The first state in the country to have this state law was New York, now there are 18 other states that have embraced similar measures.

If the arrest is associated to trafficking, the court must drop the charges. It should be recognized that the they should’ve not been convicted in the first place. In New York there has been over 60 women with prosecution convictions that had their records cleared.

Even though the treatment of prostitution has emerged substantially throughout the years, there are still many individuals in which contain convictions from a time where they were not viewed as victims but as a felon.

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