You have just received a letter from the DMV stating that you are a habitual traffic offender (HTO). Your license has been suspended for five years. Is there anything that can be done to get your driver’s license back?
Yes. But it is not easy, and the process should be taken very seriously.
What is Habitual Traffic Offender Status?
The law in South Carolina says that a person whose privilege to operate a motor vehicle has been suspended due to habitual traffic offender status can apply to get his driver’s license restored after two years from the start of that suspension, if he meets certain conditions:
- He must not have had a habitual offender suspension before—anywhere. That means not in South Carolina, and also not in any other state. (Sorry, but if this is your second time around, a restoration won’t work for you).
- The person must not have driven a motor vehicle during the habitual offender suspension.
- The person must not have been convicted or have any pending charges for drug or alcohol violations during the suspension period.
- The person can’t have any driving infractions pending or any driving convictions that occurred during the suspension period. Obviously, this obviously goes hand-in-hand with the requirement that he hasn’t driven.
- The person doesn’t have any other mandatory suspensions that have not yet reached their end date. It’s possible that the license could have been suspended for something else at the time the he was classified as an HTO, and that suspension has to run its course.
Regaining Your License Is Not Automatic
After this restoration request is made, the Department of Motor Vehicles has thirty days to make a decision. If it denies the request, the applicant is entitled to an Administrative Hearing where he can introduce evidence, including testimony, as to how he meets the requirements and why he should have his driver’s license restored.
If you are facing a habitual traffic offender suspension, there is one essential step you must do right now to get your license back. Commit right now not to drive until such time as you can legally do so with a valid driver’s license. If you have made it to the point where you are facing an HTO suspension, then you probably are already aware of the cycle you can enter if you continue to drive after a license suspension. If you make this commitment, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. If you don’t make this commitment, you may find yourself facing a permanent revocation and a felony conviction. That’s right, driving while suspended for HTO is a felony offense that carries five years in jail.
Are you facing a habitual traffic offender status or conviction? Are you charged with a driving-related criminal offense? Is a license suspension or revocation making it hard to get on with life? Then you need to speak to the lawyers at Holland & Usry. Please call at 864.582.0416 or toll-free at 888.230.1841 for a free, confidential consultation.