One of the most frequent calls we get are from individuals with suspended licenses who are ready to get their license back to valid but have no idea where to begin. Whether you have a record that has been suspended for 20+ years or have a single traffic ticket, it can be confusing to navigate the Indiana BMV’s record to try to determine what needs to happen to get you back to valid. This article will try and clarify possible suspensions you may see on your record to help get your license back to valid so you no longer have to look over your shoulder for the police every time you get into a vehicle. Contact our Indianapolis traffic lawyers to learn more.
How to View Your Indiana Driving Record
In order to view your driving record, you need to go to the Indiana BMV’s website, mybmv.com. Next, click “view your driving record”, and then click “view your viewable driving record.” You will then be asked to create an account on the BMV’s website which will connect your driving record to your account. When looking at the record, the first page will show you your personal information such as your date of birth, current address the BMV has on record, and the license status. It is important to keep your mailing address up to date with the BMV as this is the address they will mail you suspension notices and other information regarding your license. It is not a defense to say you did not know your license was suspended because you did not receive their mailing due to your address not being updated.
Next page will show the various active suspensions, license reinstatement fees, and anything else that needs to be handled before you can get your license back to valid. Finally, the record will show an effective and expiration date showing when the suspensions begin and end. Once you are able to view the driving record, here are a few suspensions you may see and how to handle them.
Failure to Pay/Failure to Appear
This type of suspension is generally associated with a traffic ticket, whether it is for speeding, disregarding a stop sign, or any other type of traffic infraction. Most often what happens is an individual gets a ticket and the court givens them up to 60 days to admit, deny, or nolo contendere the ticket. If you forget to pay the ticket, most courts certify a default judgment against you and send a failure to pay or failure to appear notice to the BMV. The BMV will then suspend your license indefinitely until the ticket is paid.
With failure to pay suspensions, often times the only way to handle the suspension is to either pay the ticket or if less than one year has passed from the date of the default judgment, you may be able to petition the court to set aside the default judgment. Setting aside the default judgment does not get the case dismissed, but it does allow you to start back on square one and either litigate the infraction at trial or negotiate the ticket down. With failure to appear suspensions, the court has not entered a conviction but either your appearance in court or your payment for the ticket is required to lift the suspension. A major difference with failure to appear suspensions is that the points and suspension associated with the ticket (not the failure to appear itself) are not certified to the BMV and do not take effect until the ticket is paid. How this could be a factor is if you pay off an old failure to appear ticket, if the BMV does not have proof you were insured on the date you received the ticket, you could be hit with a failure to file insurance suspension which could suspend you for an additional 90 days for a first time offense and one year if you have previously failure to file insurance suspensions. Because failure to pay and failure to appear suspensions can have collateral consequences that give you further suspensions if you pay them, it is always recommended to have an attorney check out your driving record to let you know the possible penalties and remedies of the situation. Finally, these types of suspensions are not eligible to get a specialized driving privilege or hardship license to be able to drive. The only way to handle these suspensions is to pay the tickets or have the default judgment set aside and case dismissed.
Failure to File Insurance
As mentioned above, a failure to file insurance suspension is an administrative suspension that comes from the BMV. These suspensions are triggered when you commit a driving infraction and a proof of current insurance at the time of the offense date is not provided to the BMV. If you get hit with this type of suspension but did have insurance on the date of the offense date, you need to have your insurance provider at the time of the offense to send the BMV a proof of insurance for the offense date and the suspension should fall off.
If you did not have insurance at the time of the offense, the BMV will suspend your license for a minimum of 90 days and a maximum of one year. This type of suspension is not one where you can just pay a fine and have the suspension lifted. You either have to wait out the suspension or petition for specialized driving privileges to be allowed to drive conditionally. Because this suspension is administrative, you will need to file the specialized driving privilege in the county you reside in.
No Insurance Accident/Repeat Insurance Violation
These types of suspensions again relate to the insurance status you had at the time of an offense. Again, if you had insurance on the date of the offense date cited on your driving record, having your insurance carrier send the proof of insurance for the date of the offense may take care of a no insurance accident suspension. Obviously, no insurance accident suspensions are levied against you when an accident is reported and the BMV does not have any proof that you were insured for the accident date. These types of suspensions generally last 90 days are administratively sanctioned against you by the BMV.
Repeat insurance violations are levied against you after you pick up multiple insurance violations such as no insurance accidents or failure to file insurance suspensions. These suspensions typically last one year and are also administrative. As with most of these insurance suspensions, the only way to handle this type of suspension is to either provide a proof of insurance for whatever conviction triggered the repeat insurance violation or obtain a specialized driving privilege to stay the suspension and allow you to drive conditionally.
Almost every traffic infraction is assigned a point value based on the seriousness of the infraction. The point value can be anywhere from zero to eight points for a single infraction. For example, a conviction for driving while suspended comes with an eight point hit, driving 26 or more miles per hour over the speed limit comes with a six point violation, driving from 16 to 25 miles per hour over the speed limit comes with a four point violation, and driving from 1 to 15 miles per hour over the speed limit comes with a two point hit. These points accumulate on your record for a span of two years.
Points begin to really matter once you get to 18 points in two years. For every two points you have over 18, the BMV will suspend you for one month. Therefore, at 20 points you will be suspended for one month, 22 points will be two months, 24 points will be three months and so forth. This is also an administrative suspension and a specialized driving privilege is to drive while this suspension is active.
One avenue individuals have to lower the amount of active point they have is to attend one of the BMV’s driver safety programs. (Click link to see a list of their programs.) Additionally, if you receive two citations in a one year period, the BMV may require you to take one of the programs. Failing to complete the class before the deadline may result in the BMV suspending your license for not completing the class. The only way to handle this type of suspension is to just complete one of the programs. Most can be done online a take a couple hours to complete.
That just about covers all possible suspensions you could see on your driving record. Other ancillary issues you may come across are license reinstatement fee issues or SR22/SR50 problems. Feel free to check out one of our other blogs that go more in-depth into those issues. As you can see, there are many factors and suspensions that could be affecting your driving record. Each type of suspension has a unique way of handling it. This is why it if you are looking into cleaning up your driving record so you can get back on the road, validly, you should call one of our Indianapolis criminal defense lawyers at Banks & Brower to help you navigate the process. We can be reached 24/7/365 for your questions at (317) 870-0019.