DUI Habitual Violator Penalty for Driving
If you are caught operating a motor vehicle within the stated period during which you are declared to be a habitual violator, you will be charged with the felony. If you have successfully “cleared” the stated period of HV revocation term, you may be charged with a misdemeanor offense if you are caught driving before you have gotten the state to reissue your license.
IS THERE A MISDEMEANOR “HV” LESSER INCLUDED OFFENSE AS A POSSIBLE PLEA ALTERNATIVE?
Your felony habitual violator statute may also have a lesser-included offense of operating a motor vehicle after revocation of a driver’s license but before the issuance of a new license after the term of suspension or revocation is over. This misdemeanor offense may not contain the felony habitual violator element of operating a motor vehicle within the prescribed “lookback” period, as set out in your notice of license revocation or suspension.
ELIGIBILITY FOR ISSUANCE OF A LICENSE OR LACK OF LICENSE IS NO DEFENSE.
It does not matter if you were eligible to get a driver’s license anywhere else in determining whether you can be charged with a violation of your habitual violator status. Nor is it a valid legal defense in most states to a charge of being a habitual violator if you have never had a driver’s license, although in Kansas, you cannot be convicted of driving as an “HV” if you have never had a valid driver’s license.
LACK OF KNOWLEDGE OF “HV” CONSEQUENCES IS NO EXCUSE.
You do not need to know that you are still considered a habitual violator, or to know of the consequences of your actions by operating any vehicle, to be held responsible for this offense. In most states, merely being found driving or being in actual physical control of any motor vehicle will lead to a felony charge of driving after having been declared (being notified of being) a habitual violator. Your lack of knowledge of this legal status is an adequate defense in a few places.
“HV” STATUS ALONE WILL NOT ELEVATE A VEHICULAR HOMICIDE TO MURDER.
If you have a habitual violator status and you are caught driving with your license revoked, this alone will not constitute the malice element in a malice murder prosecution. Felony murder is a special type of homicide charge that is brought against you where someone died while you were committing a felony. If you are charged with a felony vehicular homicide based on your driving after being notified of your habitual violator status, during the commission of felony fleeing and attempting to elude a police officer, a felony murder charge may be possible.
THE “NOTICE” REQUIREMENT FOR “HV” REVOCATION.
Like any other “property” right, before your driver’s license can be taken away, you must receive notice of this process to be declared a habitual violator. Much of the appellate litigation in your state on “HV” revocations will typically deal with the State’s ability to prove that you were actually notified or “served” with the notice of the total ban of driving privileges. Trial judges commonly allow proof to be used at a hearing or trial that falls short of your right to be confronted with admissible evidence.