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Habitual Traffic Offender Defense
Aggressive Legal Defense in the Miami & Fort Lauderdale Area Since 2001
The state of Florida will designate an individual as a habitual traffic offender (HTO) if that person accumulates a specified number of traffic convictions or moving violations in a five-year period. When a motorist is designated as an HTO, his or her driver’s license will be revoked for five years, and they could face much steeper fines and legal repercussions.
Alleged offenders in these cases usually discover their license has been suspended or revoked when they receive an HTO designation in the mail from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV). When a person knows they are considered an HTO, that individual must take quick action to avoid additional costly penalties and to regain their right to drive.
Attorney for Habitual Traffic Offenders in Miami
Did you receive a letter about an BTO designation or were you charged with a criminal offense as an HTO in Florida? Do not make any kind of statement to authorities without legal counsel, instead, contact our experienced team at The Hoffman Firm for immediate help with your legal crisis.
Habitual Traffic Offender Status in Florida
A motorist may be designated as an HTO under Florida Statute § 322.264 when he or she compiles a specified number of traffic convictions in a five-year period. An individual will be designated as an HTO if he or she accumulates three or more convictions of any one or more of the following offenses arising out of separate acts:
- Any driving under the influence (DUI) violation;
- Any felony involving the use of a motor vehicle;
- Driving a motor vehicle while the driver’s license is suspended or revoked;
- Driving a commercial motor vehicle while the driver’s privilege is disqualified;
- Failing to stop and render aid in the event of a motor vehicle crash (resulting in the death or personal injury of another person); or
- Voluntary or involuntary manslaughter resulting from the operation of a motor vehicle.
An alleged offender can also be labeled an HTO for 15 convictions for moving traffic offenses for which points may be assessed as set forth in Florida Statute § 322.27, including, but not limited to:
- Leaving the scene of a crash resulting in property damage of more than $50 — 6 points;
- Passing a stopped school bus — 4 points;
- Reckless driving, willful and wanton — 4 points;
- Unlawful speed, or unlawful use of a wireless communications device, resulting in a crash — 6 points;
- Unlawful speed not in excess of 15 miles per hour of lawful or posted speed — 3 points;
- Unlawful speed in excess of 15 miles per hour of lawful or posted speed—4 points;
- A violation of a traffic control signal device as provided in Florida Statute § 316.074(1) or Florida Statute § 316.075(1)(c)1. — 4 points;
- Any conviction under Florida Statute § 403.413(6)(b), relating to the Florida Litter Law — 3 points;
- Any conviction under Florida Statute § 316.0775(2), relating to interference with official traffic control devices or railroad signs or signals — 4 points; and/or
- Any moving violation covered in this paragraph, excluding unlawful speed and unlawful use of a wireless communications device, resulting in a crash — 4 points;
- All other moving violations (including parking on a highway outside the limits of a municipality) — 3 points;
- A moving violation covered in this paragraph which is committed in conjunction with the unlawful use of a wireless communications device within a school safety zone — 2 points, (in addition to the points assigned for the moving violation).
How to Protect or Restore Your License
A person who has been designated as an HTO may still be able to retain his or her driving privileges. A criminal defense lawyer can review the convictions that caused the alleged offender to be labeled as an HTO and possible file a motion to vacate one of the convictions.
In such cases, the alleged offender will have a limited amount of time to file the necessary motions. State law only allows people 30 days to file motions to withdraw pleas, 60 days to file motions to reduce or correct sentences, and two years to claim ineffective assistance of counsel when people were not advised that their licenses would be suspended or revoked because of HTO status.
Alleged offenders can also request administrative hearings with the Florida DHSMV to challenge the validity of suspensions or revocations. If a lower court or agency errs in its review of a case, these people may also have appeal options.
State law does allow individuals with HTO statuses to apply for hardship licenses through the Administrative Review Office that allows them to drive to and from work. Such hardship licenses, however, are not available to alleged offenders during the first year of their revocations or suspensions.
Florida Habitual Traffic Offender Resources
- Miami-Dad County Clerk of Courts: Visit the Clerk of Courts to pay traffic citations online. You can also find additional information about the traffic court, including the difference between civil traffic infractions and criminal traffic violations. You can also view answers to frequently asked questions.
- FLHSMV — On the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles website, you can find all kinds of information about driver’s licenses. You can review the status of your driver license and learn how to purchase your own driver record. You can also review the fee schedule and find answers to frequently asked questions about driver records.
Contact Our Miami Habitual Traffic Offender Defense Lawyer for Help
If you were designated as an HTO in Florida, it is in your best interest to seek legal representation as soon as possible. The Hoffman Firm defends individuals in Miami and Fort Lauderdale, and we are committed to finding the best possible legal solution for our clients.
Evan Hoffman is an experienced criminal defense attorney in Miami who understands the traffic offense laws in Florida, especially as they apply to habitual offenders. With that knowledge and experience, he can create a solid argument in favor to defend your rights and, if at all possible, protect or reinstate your Florida driver's license.
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