Habitual Traffic Offender
If you’ve received a letter from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (“DHSMV”) alerting you that your driver’s license is about to be revoked for a period of five years, you must contact The Mayberry Law Firm immediately for a free consultation to see if we can prevent this. Habitual Traffic Offender (“HTO”) status strips you of your ability to drive for a period of five years. Compounding this debilitating penalty is the fact that you won’t be able to get a restricted license for a period of one year if this status sticks. Our suspended license attorneys have overturned dozens of HTO suspensions for individuals in your situation. Certain traffic violations used to classify you as a HTO driver can, and often are, overturned by our attorneys. Our record is exceptional in this area and we’ve helped many clients maintain their livelihood by keeping their driving privilege intact.What is Habitual Traffic Offender Status?
This dreaded status is a penalty for a driver who has any combination of 3 or more specified traffic offense convictions within a 5 year period. For purposes of HTO, “conviction” of a predicate/qualifying civil traffic infraction (punishable by a fine) means the person has been adjudicated guilty and points have been assessed to his record. With respect to criminal traffic violations the imposition of an adjudication of guilt is irrelevant, as a criminal traffic violation is a predicate/qualifying offense for HTO regardless of the disposition.
Florida Statute 322.264 dictates that the following offenses will be used as qualifying offenses for HTO status if you are convicted of 3 of them within 5 years:
- Voluntary or Involuntary Vehicular Manslaughter
- Driving Under the Influence
- Any felony in the commission of which a motor vehicle is used
- Driving While License Suspended or Revoked
- Failing to stop and render aid in the event of a motor vehicle crash resulting in the death or injury of another
- Driving a commercial vehicle while your privilege to do so is disqualified
- 15 convictions for pointable moving traffic offenses
- Any violation of Federal law or law of another state similar to those listed above
If you have the necessary amount of qualifying offenses as dictated in Florida Statute 322.264, Florida has the statutory power under Florida Statute 322.27 to suspend your license for a period of 5 years. It is important to remember that the qualifying dates are not the dates the citation, arrest, or notice to appear was issued but rather the date you were actually “convicted” in accord with HTO definition. This date is the date you resolved your case by going in front of a judge or when the Clerk of Court recorded your payment of the applicable civil infraction.How do We fix This?
Florida Statute 322.27 explicitly allows for relief from HTO status by petitioning the DHSMV to “show cause” as to why a license shouldn’t enter HTO status. As with any show cause hearing, you must have a legitimate reason and be able to show that entry of HTO status would be an error on the part of the DHSMV. This almost never works.
The better form of relief involves attacking the prior qualifying convictions through a detailed motion written by our attorneys. Upon reviewing your driving record we will know if a motion is possible. If a motion is possible, we file it in the applicable county, appear on your behalf, and make argument as to why a prior qualifying traffic conviction should be overturned, thereby sparing HTO status which in turn saves your driver’s license. When we succeed, the prior conviction is amended and you are eligible for a full reinstatement of your driving privilege.
HTO status is debilitating. It will affect your job, marriage and social life. The Tampa criminal attorneys at The Mayberry Law Firm have consistently prevented HTO status from consuming our clients and we’ll do that for you as well. Call us at 813-444-7435 or at 727-771-3847 today.