DLS

Reporter’s Note

The statute, 23 V.S.A. § 674, does not require notice or knowledge of suspension on the part of the offender, and actual notice is not required.  State v. Hebert, 124 Vt. 377, 379 (1964).  The required notice may be satisfied by evidence that the written notice had been sent at least three days earlier, by registered mail or by certified mail.  The statute at 23 V.S.A. § 204 states that a suspension shall be deemed to be in effect three days after deposit in the United States mails, and a reasonable interpretation of that statute is that a notice will be effective three days after mailing.

The Supreme Court approved an instruction on notice, similar to the model instruction, in State v. Cattanach, 129 Vt. 57 (1970).  Where the commissioner had mailed the notice more than  three days prior to the offense, “[t]he defendant’s failure to receive delivery of the notice of suspension is not sufficient to bar his conviction for operating a motor vehicle after the revocation went into full force and effect.”  Id. at 61.  A driver has a continuing duty to inform the commissioner of any change of address.  State v. Chicoine, 154Vt. 653 (1990).

Although § 204 suggests that notice of the suspension will be effective three days after mailing by first class mail, the above cases involved convictions based on certified mail.  It is not clear whether mailing by first class mail would sustain a conviction.

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