The answer is absolutely yes. If you’re driving on a suspended license or driving without a license, there’s a real possibility you could end up in jail. But let’s back up for a moment. How does a driver’s license get suspended? In Indiana there are two types of license suspensions.
Administrative Suspensions: Imposed by the BMV
When the Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) suspends your driver’s license, this is an administrative action. It’s usually related to excessive points or a failure to provide proof of insurance after an accident.
If the BMV just wants money, you probably need to pay them. If your license has been suspended, however, you should contact an experienced attorney.
Criminal Suspensions: Imposed by a Court
When a court suspends your driver’s license, it’s usually related to a criminal case. If you drive with a suspended license—against the judge’s order—that’s a Class A infraction. If you do it twice in 10 years, it’s a Class A misdemeanor, which carries a maximum penalty of 365 days in jail and a $5,000 fine.
The more traffic infractions and DUIs you accumulate over a 10-year period, the closer you get to the dreaded Habitual Traffic Violator (HTV) designation.
Qualifying as a Habitual Traffic Violator
An HTV suspension will last for five or 10 years, depending on what you did to earn it. The two most common paths to HTV status are:
- 3 major moving violations in a 10-year period = HTV for 10 years
- 9 minor moving violations + 1 major moving violation in a 10-year period = HTV for 5 years
Getting caught driving while HTV starts as a Level 6 felony, which carries a maximum penalty of two-and-a-half years in prison and a $10,000 fine. If you’re driving while HTV and you cause an accident resulting in serious bodily injury (or worse), that will be charged as a Level 5 felony, which carries a maximum penalty of six years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Specialized Driving Privileges
A multi-year driver’s license suspension is serious, but it’s not the end of the world. Indiana allows you to request specialized driving privileges for employment, childcare, school, medical appointments, court dates, and religious services.
Specialized driving privileges are discretionary, so there’s no guarantee the judge will grant them, but it’s always worth a shot—especially if your alternative is a multi-year suspension.
Conditional driving may not be the most glamorous transportation in the world, but it will get you where you need to go. If you or someone you know has a suspended license, give us a call at 317-632-3642, and remember—always plead the 5th!