What are you going to do about it? Suspend my driver's license? Go ahead!
Paul Wheeler, an Indiana man, had his driver's license suspended 68 times in 14 years. The suspensions didn't seem to faze him though.
Wheeler has finally been sentenced to 20 days in jail after pleading guilty to his latest charge of driving on a suspended license. Prosecutors say that he'll only spend 10 days in jail and pay $1,000 in fines to restore his driver's license.
But how can he have so many suspensions and spend only 10 days in jail?
Habitual Traffic Violators
Wheeler is going to jail because Indiana law provides for jail time as a punishment for driving on a suspended license. While having over 60 suspensions makes him a habitual traffic violator, he is not going to see jail time for that.
In Indiana, the habitual traffic violator (HTV) statute does not provide for jail time as a punishment for the crime. The most severe punishment is a 10 year license suspension for people who have two major violations resulting in injury or death within a 10 year period. These include reckless homicide, voluntary or involuntary manslaughter, or hit and run. People who get 10 minor traffic violations in 10 years face a five year suspension of their license.
In Wheeler's case, since none of his traffic suspensions were deadly or injurious, at most, he faces a five year suspension. Eh, what's one more suspension on top of the 68 he has now?
Habitual Traffic Violator Statutes in Other States
While Indiana's statute seems pretty lenient, other states' statutes are even more forgiving.
- Wisconsin - Wisconsin allows for 12 minor traffic violations or four major violations, within a five year period, before a person's driver's licenses is suspended for only five years.
- Florida - In Florida, drivers are allowed three major violations or 15 minor violations within a five year period before they're classified as habitual traffic offenders.
- Washington - Washington classifies habitual traffic violators as people who have had three major offenses or 20 minor offenses within a five year period. Also, if more than one violation occurs within six hours, its counted as only one violation!
If you are convicted of multiple traffic violations and are facing possible suspension, an experienced traffic attorney may be able to help assess your options. Oh, and avoid jail.
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