Lately, the Clearwater and St. Petersburg Defense Lawyers at Blake & Dorsten, P.A. have been getting several calls regarding potential clients facing a Habitual Traffic Offender Suspension Notice. And no wonder, according to the Department of Motor Vehicles, approximately 23,000 drivers throughout the State of Florida each year from 2006 have had their drivers license revoked as a Habitual Traffic Offender.
In today's society it is difficult if not impossible for citizens to conduct their ordinary course of business without access to an automobile. Let's face it; the public transportation in the Tampa Bay area is virtually non-existent. It is more important now, more than ever, to fight these Habitual Traffic Offender Notices! If you receive this notice your drivers license will be suspended for 5 years.
To add injury to insult, you will not be eligible for a hardship or Business Purpose Only License for one year. This means no driving for any reason for a full calendar year. It gets worse. If you get caught driving, you could be facing a third degree FELONY Driving While License Suspended or Revoked charge punishable up to 5 years in prison! The lawyers at Blake & Dorsten, P.A. have several strategies to attack your driving record.
Florida Statute Section 322 gives the DHSMV authority to declare an individual a Habitual Traffic Offender. Under Florida Section 322.27, The Florida Legislator adopted the laws under with the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles can suspended or revoke a Florida Driver's License: It states:
The Florida DHSMV shall revoke a driver's license of any person designated a habitual traffic offender, as set forth in section 322.264, and such driver shall not be eligible to be relicensed for a minimum of five (5) years from the date or revocation, except as provided for in Section 322.271. Any person whose Florida driver's license is revoked may, by petition to the Florida DHSMV, show cause why the driver's license should not be revoked.
Section 322.24 - Using Out of State Offenses to Suspend Florida Driver's License
The Florida DHSMV is authorized to suspend or revoke the driver's license of any Florida residence, upon receiving notice of the conviction of such person in another state of an offense therein which, if committed in Florida, would be grounds for the suspension or revocation of the driver's license.
Florida Habitual Traffic Offender Law - Section 322.264
The felony offense of driving after being designated a Habitual Traffic Offender, Section 322.34(5), Florida Statutes (2003), provides that "[a]ny person whose driver's license has been revoked pursuant to s. 322.264 (habitual traffic offender) and who drives any motor vehicle upon the highways of this state while such license is revoked is guilty of a felony of the third degree . . . ."; A "habitual traffic offender" is defined in section 322.264, Florida Statutes, as "any person whose record, as maintained by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, shows that such person has accumulated the specified number of convictions for offenses described in subsection (1) or subsection (2) within a 5-year period."
(1) Three or more convictions of any one or more of the following offenses arising out of separate acts:
(a) Voluntary or involuntary manslaughter resulting from the operation of a motor vehicle;
(b) Any violation of s. 316.193, former s. 316.1931, or former s. 860.01;
(c) Any felony in the commission of which a motor vehicle is used;
(d) Driving a motor vehicle while his or her license is suspended or revoked;
(e) Failing to stop and render aid as required under the laws of this state in the event of a motor vehicle crash resulting in the death or personal injury of another; or
(f) Driving a commercial motor vehicle while his or her privilege is disqualified.
(2) Fifteen convictions for moving traffic offenses for which points may be assigned as set forth in section 322.27, including those offenses in subsection (1).
How can we help?
Prevention! (Avoid Conviction and Points)
The best way to avoid being a habitual traffic offender and keep your drivers license, is to avoid points and convictions. If you have received a traffic ticket, call us immediately. The Traffic Ticket Lawyers at Blake & Dorsten, P.A. can fight your ticket, possibly getting your ticket dismissed and avoiding convictions. If you accumulate 15 convictions during five year period (5), you may receive a letter from the DHSMV suspending you drivers license for 5 years. Fight your tickets as they happen, don't wait until it is too late!
If you receive notice that your drivers license is suspended, correct the problem immediately! Call the lawyer at Blake & Dorsten, P.A. to discuss a strategy to re-instate your drivers license. Three (3) convictions for DWLSR or Driving While License is Suspended or Revoked within a five year period will cause you to be a Habitual Traffic Offender. Don't wait! Re-instate your driver's license immediately.
Requesting an Administrative Review.
If you receive and HTO notice from the Florida DHSMV and you believe it is in error, you can apply for an administrative hearing to review your driving record. However, you must not delay, you have only thirty business days (30) from the date of the order to request a drivers' license review. Often times, if you feel there is an error on your record, we can petition the court to send written certification of your conviction to the DHSMV for a review under Florida Statute Section 120.057(2) to correct your record. This is often the quickest and most effective strategy to correct your record. If you still do not have relief, we can file a "writ of certiorari" an appeal the decision from the administrative review hearing.
Advance Driver Improvement (ADI)
Florida law allows you to get a hardship license to drive to and from work or any reason to carry on your ordinary course of business. Often times, you must enroll and show proof of a 12 hour traffic school course called Advance Driver Improvement or ADI to be eligible for your hardship license. If you have been declared a Habitual Traffic Offender, you may be eligible for your hardship license after one year.
If you have received a traffic ticket or any criminal driving offense, contact the Criminal Defense Lawyers at Blake & Dorsten P.A immediately to review your case. Keep in mind, that quickly pleading to a criminal offense at arraignment can have long lasting, devastating effects upon your driving history. Remember, it only takes three conviction of DWLSR or DUI in a 5 year period to be a Habitual Traffic Offender. If you receive a notice from Florida DHSMV regarding a HTO suspension, obtain a copy of your Florida Drivers Record and contact us immediately. There are several strategies we can employ to possibly get your drivers license re-instated. Often times we can save you thousands of dollars of increased insurance costs associated with a HTO suspension.