Habitual Traffic Offender (HTO)
There are certain instances when a driver may be charged with Habitual Traffic Offender (HTO). The Department of Motor Vehicles defines a driver as being a Habitual Offender if they are convicted of three (3) or more convictions, singularly or in combination of any of the following offenses arising from separate incidents, within a three (3) year period:
(1) Voluntary manslaughter, involuntary manslaughter or reckless homicide resulting from the operation of a motor vehicle;
(2) Operating or attempting to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor, narcotics or drugs;
(3) Driving or operating a motor vehicle in a reckless manner (Reckless Driving);
(4) Driving a motor vehicle while his license, permit, or privilege to drive a motor vehicle has been suspended or revoked, except a conviction for driving under suspension for failure to file proof of financial responsibility (DUS);
(5) Any offense punishable as a felony under the motor vehicle laws of this State or any felony in the commission of which a motor vehicle is used;
(6) Failure of the driver of a motor vehicle involved in any accident resulting in the death or injury of any person to stop close to the scene of such accident and report his identity.
A person is also deemed an habitual offender if convicted of ten (10) or more separate and distinct moving violations that are reported to the DMV which assess four or more points to one’s driver’s license.
If the DMV determines that one’s driving record places him in one of the above categories, he will be served with notification by the department that he has been deemed an habitual offender and that his license is revoked and must be surrendered. If convicted of Habitual Traffic Offender, one’s driving privileges will be suspended for a five (5) year period!
You Can Challenge the HTO Designation!
One may appeal the Department’s finding that they should be deemed an habitual offender by submitting a request for a Contested Hearing to the Office of Motor Vehicles Hearings. We will gladly represent you at this Hearing which will be conducted by the local Administrative Hearing Officer whom we work with regularly. The Hearing Officer will determine if the person actually meets the standards for being deemed an Habitual Offender after further, more detailed review.
If you have received notification from the Department of Motor Vehicles that they have determined that you are an Habitual Traffic Offender, you have a limited amount of time to request a hearing before the Office of Motor Vehicle Hearings. You should contact our office immediately so that we may request the hearing on your behalf and immediately begin building a defense to challenge the Department’s decision.
Your future ability to operate a motor vehicle in this State, or other States, depends on a timely request and effective defense at the Administrative Hearing. Our office will defend you at this Hearing in an attempt to prevent you from being determined a Habitual Traffic Offender.
If you have received this notice, please call our offices immediately so that our experienced staff or attorney may assist you in requesting a Contested Hearing before the time period to do so has expired.
You Can Shorten Your Five (5) Year Suspension!
If you have already been determined to be a Habitual Traffic Offender, our office may be able to petition the DMV to have a Hearing to reduce your suspension period or overturn the department determination of you being a Habitual Traffic Offender. Please call the Law Office of Peter David Brown, P.A., to determine if you are eligible to petition the DMV for such Hearing.
According to Section 56-1-1090, you can request a hearing to petition SCDMV to reinstate your South Carolina Driver’s License once you have served at least two (2) years of your suspension, if you meet certain criteria. We can help you determine whether you are eligible for a hearing.
Please contact us immediately if you or someone you know has been designated as an Habitual Traffic Offender and wishes to keep their driving privileges. You may reach us by phone at 843-971-0099, or by clicking here to contact us for a free case evaluation.