Section 22F. A person shall be deemed an habitual traffic offender when records maintained by the registrar show that such person has accumulated the following convictions within a five-year period; provided, however, that when a person who has no prior record of an automobile law violation, as defined in section one of chapter ninety C, is convicted of more than one of the violations referred to in this section, if such offenses all occurred within a six-hour period, such convictions shall for the purposes of this section be treated as a single conviction:—(1) three or more convictions, singularly or in combination, of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or narcotic drugs in violation of paragraph (a) of subdivision (1) of section twenty-four; operating a motor vehicle recklessly or negligently so that the lives and safety of the public might be endangered; making a false statement in an application for a learner’s permit or motor vehicle operator’s license or in an application for registration of a motor vehicle; going away without making known his name, residence and the registration number of his vehicle after knowingly colliding with or otherwise causing injury to any person, other vehicle or property, all in violation of paragraph (a) of subdivision (2) of section twenty-four; operating a motor vehicle after suspension or revocation of the person’s motor vehicle operator’s license or his right to operate motor vehicles in violation of section twenty-three; operating a motor vehicle without a license in violation of section ten; or the commission of any felony in the commission of which a motor vehicle is used; or twelve or more convictions of offenses which are required by any provision of law to be reported to the registrar and for which the registrar is authorized or required to suspend or revoke the person’s license or right to operate motor vehicles for a period of thirty days or more, including convictions of the offenses listed above.
When the records of the registrar on any person contain reports of such convictions as will constitute such person an habitual traffic offender, the registrar shall hold a hearing within six months from such third conviction, and shall give notice to such person that such hearing will be held to show cause why such person should not be designated as an habitual traffic offender. Such notice shall be sent not less than twenty-one days prior to the date for such hearing, shall contain a list of the person’s convictions, and shall otherwise be in such form as the registrar shall prescribe. If the person named in such notice is a nonresident, such notice shall be sent to his last known address of which the registrar has a record; or, if none, to the motor vehicle department of any state in which such person resides or which has issued a motor vehicle operator’s license or permit to such person. If such person denies he was convicted of any offense necessary for a determination that he is an habitual offender, and if the registrar cannot, on the evidence available to him, make such determination, the registrar may refer the decision of such issue to the court in which such conviction was made. The said court shall forthwith conduct a hearing to determine such issue and send a certified copy of its final order determining such issue to the registrar.
If the registrar finds that such person is not the same person named in the records of conviction, or that he is otherwise not an habitual offender under this section, no action shall be taken; but if the registrar finds that such person is the same person named in the record of conviction and that such person is an habitual offender, the registrar shall immediately revoke such person’s license or right to operate. The registrar, after having revoked the license or right to operate of any person under this section, shall not issue a new license or reinstate the right to operate to such person for a period of four years from the date of revocation, nor until such person has satisfactorily completed a driver improvement course approved by the registrar and has passed such examination as to his competence to operate motor vehicles as the registrar may require; provided, however, that such person may, after the expiration of one year, apply for and shall be granted a hearing before the registrar for the purpose of requesting the issuance of a new license on a limited basis on the sole grounds of hardship, and the registrar may, in his discretion, issue such a license under such terms and conditions as he deems appropriate and necessary. An appeal to the superior court may be had, in accordance with the provisions of chapter thirty A, from any order of the registrar of motor vehicles made under the provisions of this section.