GC, a twenty year old man from Andover, has accumulated 11 surchargeable over the last four years. Under Massachusetts Law if a person accumulates 12 surchargeable events over a five year period they are classified as an habitual traffic offender and they lose their license for four years with the right to apply for a hardship license after 1 year.

GC let his license expire (he “forgot” to renew it on the renewal date). After a snowstorm on January 29, 2013 GC removed the snow from the front windshield but only in front of the driver’s seat. The rest of the front windshield and the other windows and the roof remained encased in snow. A police officer pulled GC over and gave him a ticked for unlicensed operation (a criminal offense) and impeded operation (a civil violation). Both violations are surchargeable and if GC were found guilty/responsible of either violation he would lose his license for 4 years.

GC retained Attorney Robert Lewin. Attorney Lewin ran GC’s driver record from the RMV and his criminal record (from the Mass.Department of Criminal Justice Information Services). The driver record showed that in fact GC’s license was not suspended or revoked but had expired; however, the driver record also showed that GC was in non renewal status because he owed excise tax. GC received a summons to appear in Lawrence District Court for an arraignment on April 25, 2013. Attorney Lewin met with the Assistant DA before court and explained the situation. The DA said she would agree to dismiss the unlicensed operation charge on the payment of $300 court costs (the criminal offense) but the DA wanted a responsible finding on the civil violation. The problem with a responsible finding on the civil violation is that it would have given GC 12 surchargeable offenses and he would lose his license for 4 years.

The case was called and Attorney Lewin explained the situation to the Judge; Attorney Lewin suggesting finding GC not responsible on the criminal violation and adding $50 in court costs. The Judge agreed. The unlicensed operation was dismissed and the impeded operation was a not responsible finding. It is attention to details such as checking a driver record to see how many surchargeable events a person has on his record that can make a difference between keeping your license and losing it for four years.

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