View Full Version : Calling all lawyers! (or: How screwed am I?)
09-01-2000, 08:05 AM
On my way home from work last night, I was pulled over. I wasn't speeding...the cop simply rolled up behind me and ran my plates. My car was impounded...my license was taken...and I was hauled to the station.
My insurance lapsed in May 2000. I was charged with an FRA suspension (no insurance...illegal in Ohio) and a NO OPS (no operators license).
I've had (in the past) a pretty rocky driving record. 52 points since I was 16 (I'm 26 now). Most recent was a speed ticket (last October) which gives me 8 _active_ points.
I started my insurance policy (with General) in April 2000. I got my startup packet and paid the initial deposit. The next coorespondence (mail) I got from them was a notice of cancellation due to non-payment on May 31, 2000. Huh? What happened to the bills?
In June I received notification from the BMV that my license had been revoked due to a lack of insurance.
I knew that my license was suspended and was in the process of getting a new policy. Too late.
However, at the station, the cop informed me that my license had been revoked back in November of 1999. What?
Soooo...how screwed am I? My court date is Tuesday. I'd ask for an extension, except that I can't get my car out until I appear in court. I expect that a lawyer could swing that for me.
(please. if you plan on replying with a flame about "what a menace to society i am"...don't.)
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09-01-2000, 08:15 AM
Originally posted by malaka
Get a lawyer. Pronto.
09-01-2000, 08:24 AM
just in case you were looking for a second opinion, here it is:
Get a lawyer, pronto. this means make an apointment and pay some one.
If I read your post correctly, at the very least, you've been driving illegally and knowing about it since June (no insurance) and knowing that you didn't have a valid ops for over a month. Realistically, your arguement of "I was gonna do it" will not impress the court.
You really, really need a lawyer personally looking at your case in person, and not some one's best thoughts upon reading up on the Ohio state code of law.
a good lawyer, ask around.
09-01-2000, 08:30 AM
I'm no lawyer but as I see it you have two choices 1) get a lawyer and pay your dues or 2) get your passport and leave the country! Good luck!
09-01-2000, 08:34 AM
Okay, first follow the previouas advice GET A LAWYER a good one preferably, a very good one.
I don't know about ohio, but in illinois, I know this cause happened to me, driving on a revoked is NOT a good thing. It is a minimum of seven days in yail, or 30 days of community service, providing you can your insurance taken care of as well as all your other things, you still have your driving on revoked. Get your date kicked to a later time for sure, you need to see what you can do to get your licence back BEFORE you go to court for this, if that is possible than you are in the clear. If not than perhaps your lawyer can work somethign out for you. Good luck pal.
09-01-2000, 09:01 AM
They will likely be able to sort it all out. My husband was caught in a similar situation, except his was even worse. Lots of fines and a loss of license for a while and he was back on track. This is your opportunity to learn a valuable lesson about keeping up your insurance commitments. One lesson you've learned is it's YOUR responsibility to make sure you have your paid policy IN WRITING at all times. I almost got my homeowners policy cancelled the same way. They sent the bill to the wrong person, but it didn't matter. The responsibility was mine to ensure it was paid. It's a bitch, but a fact of life.
So you drove with a suspended license and no ins? They may well pull your license for a while. Bummer man. Could have been worse- what if you had been in an accident and hurt someone and had no insurance to pay for it? Scary shit, man.
Good luck! If you can't afford a lawyer, go to your local Legal Aid, where they'll provide a low cost/free lawyer to you.
09-01-2000, 09:15 AM
Regarding Ohio traffic laws:
From the Digest of Ohio Motor Vehicle Laws:
It's in Acrobat form- I suggest you download Acrobat and give it a read. The stuff relevent to your case is on pages 46-49
Any Ohio driver convicted of a traffic violation is assessed a specific number of penalty points according to the type of violation. Should that driver be convicted of a second or subsequent offense within two years after the first violation, the point assessment for the new violation is added to the previous total.
The number of penalty points given to a violator are ssessed by the court system. Following is a schedule of point assessments for specific violations.
7. Operating a motor vehicle while operator license is under suspension or
DRIVING UNDER SUSPENSION
Operating a motor vehicle while your license is under suspension is a first degree misdemeanor, and if convicted, you are subject to a fine of up to $1,000 or six months in jail, or both. You may also be sentenced to an additional one year driver license suspension.
This is long, but relevent:
Owners and operators of motor vehicles in Ohio must carry a minimum amount of liability coverage in order to legally operate or permit the operation of a motor vehicle.
When you apply for Ohio license plates and for a new, renewal or duplicate driver license, you must produce official documents such as your social security card and previous driver license and sign a sworn statement that liability coverage is currently in effect.
As an Ohio driver, you must be able to show proof of financial responsibility any time you receive a moving traffic ticket violation, or you are convicted for a moving traffic violation that requires a court appearance, when you are involved in a traffic crash in which any party has property damage that exceeds $400 or causes a personal injury or death, or upon receipt of a random verifica-
tion by mail. Proof must also be shown when a motor vehicle owned by you but driven by someone else is involved in a moving traffic violation or reportable traffic crash.
<blah, blah, blah>
Penalties for failing to show proof of financial responsibility include impoundment of vehicle registration and license plates by the court or BMV, suspension of driver license for 90 days on the first offense; one year on additional offenses, (work driving privileges cannot be given during this suspension), and court costs. Offenders may also have their motor vehicles immobilized or for-
feited. Vehicle owners who knowingly allow someone with a suspended license to operate their vehicle may also be subject to these penalties. There are other fees for reinstatement of driving privileges and failing to surrender plates, license and registration voluntarily.
In addition, driving privileges will not be restored until proof of financial responsibility can be shown. Proof must be filed until proof of financial responsibility can be shown. Proof must be filed with the BMV and maintained for five years.
Every Ohio law enforcement officer is an agent of the BMV for the purposes of enforcing this law. Each is authorized to confiscate the license, plates and registration of any Ohio driver who currently is under an order of suspension or
Sorry dude, looks like you're screwed to me. They equate driving on a suspended license with drunk driving (same penalty). Yikes.
09-01-2000, 09:44 AM
Thanks for the quick responses! I appreciate it.
Bad news for me, eh? :(
Several friends have already given me the names of some local trusted lawyers. I'll start shopping today.
09-01-2000, 10:19 AM
Where in OH are you? My aunt is a lawyer in Youngstown. She used to be with the DA's office. She could probably refer you to a good lawyer.
09-01-2000, 12:47 PM
I'm glad to hear you are getting a lawyer. These types of infractions can seriously affect your life for three months to a year and sometimes even longer. Jail time is a possibilty depending on several factors including your prior history, et cetera. A lawyer is vital in these types of situations because it can be very complicated dealing with the administrative and judicial systems. Furthermore, you may want someone to evaluate other aspects of your case like whether the stop was justified. Although I understand your license may be suspended for a while longer if you get and lawyer and a continuance, the long-run cost of the inconvenience is negligible compared to the legal ramifications of rushing into a courtroom unprepared.
In addition to handling this immediate situtation, you also need to find out why your license was revoked in Novemeber. Last year I worked as a legal aid attorney and handled many cases in Colorado similar to your situation. In many of those cases, my client had forgotten to follow up on the system in a prior case (i.e. the DMV and probation regulations were not met and thus the person was held to be uncompliant). I can tell you one immutable truth, the system never gives a crap, and thus often makes mistakes. If you don't make sure all of your buttons are in a row, it's all on you.
Thus, if a license was suspended before and, although the time of the suspension expired, the person seeking to reinstate didn't renew the license (common mistake), the license is still held to be suspended. A person must go down to the DMV, and have the DMV reissue the license. Make sure all of the forms are filed, all the fees are paid, and you have the appropriate type of insurance.
In regards to the November issue, please pay special attention to any serious driving infractions and the root cause of the FRA--that sounds like a really good starting place. Any decent lawyer will help you with this and will also tell you what you need to do once this is all over. Remember, diligence is the key.
Anyway, obviously this is not legal advice, nor should be taken as such. A person cannot give good legal advice over the computer. Each state differs, but more importantly, each case (even if they're all FRA cases), also differs vastly. Your case requires the personal attention of a compentent defense attorney who handles FRA and other suspension/revocation cases.
09-01-2000, 02:14 PM
lb: I live in Columbus, Ohio (Franklin County)
Prosser: Thanks for the additional advice.
FYI...I've printed this entire thread for reference. I've got a consultation with a lawyer tonight. It's tough to find these guys on Labor Day weekend. :(
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