By Jenny P. Harrison, Marion County Public Defender Agency
In the beginning of May, Gov. Pence signed House Bill 1305, which addresses a variety of motor vehicle issues. This article will mostly address suspensions and specialized driving privileges (SDPs), but check out the rest of the bill for updates relating to other updates!
Last year’s criminal code overhaul contained changes to HTVs and driving privileges after suspensions. The overall objectives of such changes were to get responsible Hoosiers driving again, reduce driving while suspended type cases in courts, and allow judicial discretion in imposing or not imposing penalties and in granting conditional licenses. However, some items needed to be tweaked or clarified and the legislature focused on those items this year.
First up, the new code addresses Hoosiers who have out-of-state suspensions gaining the ability to receive SDP. The BMV still may not suspend driving privileges for nonmoving traffic offense in another jurisdiction, but a Hoosier whose driving privileges have been suspended for failure to meet the condition of a citation in another jurisdiction is not eligible for SDP. For Hoosiers who receive convictions out of state for OWIs, the code requires the BMV to suspend the driver’s license, permit, or privileges. Those convicted of OWI causing serious bodily injury or OWI with a prior conviction may be eligible for SDP. However, if the out-of-state conviction is for OWI causing death, the Hoosier would not be eligible for SDP.
Secondly, 9-30-16 is the code section you will want to make yourself familiar with as HB1305 repeals several sections of the code that address suspensions and penalty provisions. These repealed sections include 9-30-4-6 and 9-30-5-10.
The new bill also creates penalties if a person violates a court order issuing an ignition interlock imposed as a SDP condition under 9-30-16.
9-30-10-4 corrects a change that was supposed to be enacted last year with regards to HTV qualifying offenses. Driving while suspended and operating a vehicle without ever having received a license has moved from major violations under 9-30-10-4(b) to 4(c).
This bill adds a new section to the code (9-30-10-14.1) created to grant relief to drivers with lifetime suspensions. Under this code, a person whose driving privileges have been suspended for life may petition the court in a civil action for rescission of the suspension and reinstatement of driving privileges once 10 years have passed from the last date of imposition of the lifetime suspension. Additionally, someone with a lifetime suspension who moved out of Indiana may also petition Indiana for reinstatement of driving privileges. 9-30-10-19 is also added to the code and it clarifies that certain individuals who are suspended or forfeited for life are eligible for SDP.
The new law also affects the Vehicular Substance Offender enhancement. If the State only alleges two prior unrelated VSO, the allegations must include at least one prior unrelated VSO conviction that occurred within 10 years before the date of the current offense.
Lastly, there are some changes to 9-30-16 which addresses SDP. There is a clarification that a person is ineligible for SDP if there is a refusal. However, prior refusals do not make a person permanently ineligible for SDP. Additionally, a person who has never had an Indiana driver’s license or has a learner’s permit may get SDP if they were a Hoosier at the time their suspension was imposed. The code requires them to get a driver’s license as a prerequisite to the SDP.
These are just some of the changes HB 1305 makes to the motor vehicle law. For a full update, check out the bill on the Indiana General Assembly website. Here’s a green flag for all of us Hoosiers to drive safely this month of May!
This post was written by Jenny P. Harrison of the Marion County Public Defender Agency. If you would like to submit content or write an article for the Criminal Justice Section page, please email Rachel Beachy at firstname.lastname@example.org.