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What is a habitual traffic offender?

In the State of Florida we have a law that is known as habitual traffic offender, often call it HTO. In order to be a habitual traffic offender there are a number of thresholds that are met. If someone receives three traffic infractions of a certain nature within a five year period, then they will be designated a habitual traffic offender. Those infractions can include things such as DUIs, they can include driving on suspended license charges and other serious types of traffic-related offenses, certain accidents resulting fatalities, things of that nature. If someone is designated as a habitual traffic offender, the penalties rise significantly versus what they would be for, say, an individual DUI or individual driving on suspended license. In Florida once someone is designated HTO, they lose their license for a five year period from the time of the designation, and additionally if they have a third or subsequent offense under HTO, that then goes from being a misdemeanor, which a DUI and a driving on suspended is typically a misdemeanor, that goes from being a misdemeanor to actually being a felony. They face much more severe penalties simply in terms of a criminal prosecution. There are actually folks who have gone to prison for driving on a suspended license as a habitual traffic offender.

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