If your driver's license has been suspended or revoked, your life has likely become complicated by the limitation on your driving privileges. If you are involved as a motorist in driving-related incidents while your driving privileges are suspended or revoked, you could also be charged with being a Habitual Traffic Offender. That conviction comes with serious consequences.
The Basics of California's Point System
In California, an individual's driving record from the Department of Motor Vehicles accumulates points if convicted of a driving-related offense or if involved as a motorist in certain types of automobile accidents. The number of points added to your driving record is determined by the severity of the incident. Below are examples of various violations under California law and the points accumulated for each citation:
- disobeying traffic signals or signs
- failure to yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian
- speeding above the posted speed limit
- child safety restraint violations
- certain drug and alcohol offenses
- unsafe, illegal, or defective vehicle equipment or lacking proper equipment
- improper lane usage, including HOV lane
- illegal passing
- driving while suspended or revoked
- reckless driving
- driving more than 100 mph
- involvement in a reportable hit and run collision with property damage or physical injury
- DUI offenses
If a person is driving a commercial motor (CMV) vehicle when cited, the points added to the driving record are multiplied by one and one-half percent. For example, a two-point offense committed while driving a CMV would garner three points on a driver's record.
When a Person May Be Charged as a Habitual Traffic Offender
A person whose driving privileges have been suspended or revoked may be charged as a Habitual Traffic Offender if he or she accumulates enough additional points while his or her license is suspended or revoked. If you accumulate:
- two or more convictions within 12 months for offenses that accrue one point;
- three or more convictions within 12 months for offenses that accrue two points;
- three or more accidents within 12 months that involve property damage or personal injury and therefore must be reported; or
- a total of three or more points from any of the categories above,
then you may be charged as a Habitual Traffic Offender.
Penalties for Habitual Traffic Offender Convictions
The consequences facing a Habitual Traffic Offender conviction are steep. A conviction results in a mandatory jail sentence and fine. Specifically, if you are convicted of being a Habitual Traffic Offender, the sentence for the first offense is a mandatory 30 days in jail, a $1,000 fine, and possibly one to five years on probation.
For a second Habitual Traffic Offender conviction, the sentence is a mandatory 180 days in jail, a $2,000 fine, plus the possibility of one to five years on probation. In addition, the court may order you to pay court costs and penalties. All of this is in addition to the sentence imposed for the driving offense or offenses that brought about the Habitual Traffic Offender designation.
Hiring the right attorney may help you avoid a Habitual Traffic Offender conviction. At the Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry, our Orange County defense attorneys have experience helping people charged as Habitual Traffic Offenders, and they will work to help get you get back in the driver's seat sooner. For more information about the Habitual Traffic Offender offense or the related proceedings, visit
. To set up a free initial consultation with one of our attorneys, call 866.902.6880 today.