The Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles is required to send notices to drivers who qualify as Habitual Traffic Violators. The Habitual Traffic Violator designation can carry a 5 year, 10 year or lifetime suspension of driving privileges. Unfortunately, the BMV has not always sent these notices out in a timely fashion. Many drivers have received an HTV notice several years after their last conviction. Recently, I represented a client who received his HTV notice eight (8) years after his last conviction. Fortunately, I was able to assist this client in obtaining valid driving privlieges.
However, the Indiana Court of Appeals issued an opinion today that allows these lenghty notification delays by the BMV. In Thomas v. State, Mr. Thomas received his HTV notification three and one-half (3 1/2) years after his last HTV qualifying conviction. Mr. Thomas had been convicted of Operating While Intoxicated (DUI/OWI) in 2001, Reckless Driving in January 2008 and Operating While Intoxicated (endangerment) in May 2008. Despite the fact that notices of these convictions were sent to the BMV in a timely fashion, the BMV did not inform Mr. Thomas that he qualified as an Habitual Traffic Violator until December 23, 2011.
In reviewing the case, the Court of Appeals noted that there is no specific statute of limitations imposed upon the BMV in notifying drivers of HTV status. The Court noted that the general ten (10) year statute of limitations under Indiana Code 34-11-1-2 would apply to this issue.
Despite this opinion by the Court of Appeals, there are a variety of ways to potentially undo an HTV determination.