Every day, people throughout Indiana depend on motor vehicles to get them from place to place. Our reliance on automobiles can make it seem almost impossible to travel anywhere without them.
It goes without saying that your life is exponentially more difficult if your license has been suspended, but recent changes to the law in Indiana have gotten rid of some of the harshest driving penalties. For example, a judge is no longer empowered to suspend your driving privileges for life.
Here’s the way it used to work: If you were to accumulate enough convictions, infractions, and ordinance violations, the BMV would label you a Habitual Traffic Violator and suspend your driving privileges for at least five years. If you then got caught driving while HTV, the criminal court judge could hit you with a lifetime suspension. No more driving—ever.
This isn’t allowed anymore—now the law says that the court can suspend your driving privileges “for a period up to the maximum allowable period of incarceration under the penalty for the offense”—but there are still plenty of Hoosier left with lifetime suspensions still hanging around from the bad, old days.
As of now, there’s only one remedy for an Indiana driver with a lifetime suspension: After at least 10 years have passed since the date of your suspension, you must petition a court to rescind your lifetime suspension.
If you’ve already served 10 years of your lifetime suspension, the next order of business is to hire an experienced attorney and file a verified petition with the court. This petition is a formal way of asking the court to reinstate your driving privileges.
The relevant statute requires general information, as well as a claim that your circumstances are now different than they used to be. What the court is really looking for here is some evidence that you’ve grown into a reliable, hard-working adult whose days of reckless risk-taking are behind them.
When you’re asking a court to reinstate your driving privileges, it’s your responsibility (and your attorney’s) to show that allowing you to drive is in society’s best interest. This isn’t a criminal proceeding, so you don’t have to prove this point beyond a reasonable doubt, but you do need to show it’s more likely than not that you’re a more responsible person than you used to be. For better or for worse, the final decision is entirely up to the judge.
If you’re facing a lifetime driving suspension, it’s important to know your options, and the attorneys at the Marc Lopez Law Firm have made it their business to navigate Indiana’s motor vehicle laws. Call us at 317-632-3642 for a free consultation, and remember—always plead the 5th!