Florida Habitual Traffic Offender Statute
Here at Dale Carson Law, we get many clients that have received the dreaded Habitual Traffic Offender (HTO) revocation letter from the DHSMV. You likely have received the letter as a result of paying off a bunch of tickets all at once or you received your 3rd Driving on a Suspended License charge. Either way, you are in for a headache. Fortunately, we may be able to reverse the revocation if we play our cards right.
Under F.S. 322.264 an individual will be designated HTO in the following circumstances:
- Three or more convictions within a five-year period for:
- Driving with a suspended license
- Commission of a felony in which a motor vehicle is used
- Failure to render aid after a crash resulting in death or personal injury
- Manslaughter resulting from the operation of a motor vehicle
- Driving a commercial vehicle without a license
- Fifteen convictions for moving violations, as defined in 322.27, which includes:
- Reckless driving
- Careless driving
- Failure to yield
- Violation of traffic control device
- Leaving the scene of an accident
An HTO Revocation means that you will be unable to hold an unrestricted Florida Driver’s License for 5 years. Under F.S. 322.271, you may still qualify for a hardship or “business purposes only” license after 12 months, but those licenses carry very heavy restrictions. Suffice to say, it is much better to have the revocation removed altogether than to just deal with a restricted license.
Jacksonville is one of the largest cities (land-wise) in the US and nearly everyone needs to drive in order to work, go to school, care for their families, etc. Our public transportation is severely lacking and there are not many other opportunities for people to get around town. Personally, I feel that many our local Judges understand this dynamic and thus have sympathy for anyone trying to get a good license.
In HTO cases, we regularly file motions to set aside convictions which have resulted in 5 year revocations. If we can demonstrate that our client is making a genuine effort to obtain a valid license, or that he/she was unaware of the penalties that would result from the plea, we are often times successful in removing the conviction. Once the conviction is removed, the HTO Revocation also goes away. Once the conviction is removed, we push the prosecutor to amend the charge so that it does not trigger the revocation. If we are successful, you can then go about your business without having to worry about the status of your license.
Dealing with HTO Revocations can be complex but it is not a hopeless situation. Driving is not considered a right in Florida but that doesn’t mean the privilege isn’t worth fighting for. If you have any questions or thoughts on the topic, please email me: firstname.lastname@example.org .