Habitual Offender Laws

Each state has their own laws regarding habitual offenders of automotive rules and laws but the majority of the laws are relatively similar. The definition of a habitual offender is any person that commits the same crime or breaks the same law more than once, usually three times or more, within a three year period. The most common habitual offenders are those that are charged with driving under the influence or driving while intoxicated. In most states, the laws state that a habitual offender will lose their license for no less than one year and no longer than five years from the date of the order of the court finding that the driver is habitual.

Offenses that Result in a Loss of License for Habitual Offenders:

  • Voluntary or involuntary manslaughter resulting from the operation of a motor vehicle
  • Three (3) or more convictions, or findings of delinquency or waywardness in the case of a juvenile, singularly or in combination, of the following separate and distinct offenses arising out of separate acts
  • Driving or operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of liquor or drugs
  • Driving a motor vehicle while his or her license, permit, or privilege to drive a motor vehicle has been suspended or revoked
  • Willfully operating a motor vehicle without a license
  • Knowingly making any false affidavit or swearing or affirming falsely to any matter or thing required by the motor vehicle laws or as to information required in the administration of the laws
  • Any offense punishable as a felony under the motor vehicle laws of Rhode Island or any felony in the commission of which a motor vehicle is used
  • Failure of the driver of a motor vehicle involved in an accident resulting in the death or injury of any person to stop close to the scene of the accident and report his or her identity
  • Failure of the driver of a motor vehicle involved in an accident resulting only in damage to an attended or unattended vehicle or other property in excess of one hundred fifty dollars ($150) to stop close to the scene of the accident and report his or her identity or otherwise reports the accident

Habitual Offender Repercussions

A habitual offender of traffic laws can expect to lose their license for up to five years, but no longer. If a motorist has been convicted of breaking habitual offender laws they must serve out the entire term that has been handed down from the court regarding their loss of license. Once the term has been served the motorist can then reapply for their license to be restored. The court can decide, once the term has been served, that the motorist cannot have their license restored unless they attend traffic school or some other form of class for them to get a refresher course on the rules of the road. Habitual offender laws also cover motorists that have been charged with illegal street and drag racing more than three times over a specified period of time.