The worst possible driving status issued by the New Hampshire DMV is being a habitual offender. A habitual offender is a driver who repeatedly has violated motor laws and regulations and who has accumulated the requisite number of qualifying convictions to be labelled a habitual offender. When you are classified as a habitual offender, your driving privileges are revoked and you may not be able to drive again for years.
If you are caught operating a vehicle after being certified as a habitual offender, you will potentially face major consequences. A defense attorney will look out for your best interests whether you are dealing with a minor motor vehicle infraction or if you are charged with violating the law as a habitual offender. A criminal defense lawyer can help you deal with the obstacles you will face with the criminal justice system and New Hampshire DMV.
Habitual Offender Statute
The habitual offender law was enacted in order to protect the safety of pedestrians and motorists. Under the statute, a person can become certified as a habitual offender if the following violations have occurred within five years. It is important to note that the five year period ticks from the date of the offense not the date of the conviction:
- 3 convictions for major motor vehicle violations such as DWI, Reckless Driving, Disobeying a Police officer;
- 12 convictions for minor offenses such as speeding, driving without a license, operating a vehicle without proof of insurance;
- 1 major conviction and 8 minor infractions;
- 2 major convictions and 4 minor infractions.
A comprehensive list of the various offenses that could lead to certification as a habitual offender are listed under New Hampshire's RSA 259:39. When the New Hampshire DMV decides that you are eligible for habitual offender certification, a hearing will be scheduled to verify your identity and confirm if you were convicted of the offenses. Being classified as a habitual offender may result in a license suspension that lasts for several years. If you receive a DMV notice regarding the hearing, you should contact a criminal defense lawyer for advice regarding what to expect and how to handle the proceedings.
Consulting with a criminal defense attorney is important because traffic tickets that seem insignificant can eventually have a serious impact your personal driving record and other aspects of your life. If you are convicted of driving after being certified as a habitual offender, it is considered a felony. The criminal punishment may range from one to five years in prison.
There are some limited circumstances wherein you could avoid a state prison sentence or you could serve your sentence on administrative home confinement. Administrative home confinement (AHC) is commonly referred to as the "bracelet" program. You are allowed to remain in the community, but your movements are monitored and tracked by a GPS electronic bracelet. If you have questions about alternative sentencing options, you should utilize the services of a knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer.
Talk to a Criminal Defense Attorney
If you are charged with driving as a certified habitual offender, you should contact the Law Office of Chadwick-Fricano-Weber. A criminal defense attorney will review your driving record, investigate the facts, and determine the best way to proceed. Call us today at (603) 880-6100 to schedule an appointment.