Habitual Traffic Offenders in Florida

Getting one criminal traffic citation can be annoying enough. In some instances, traffic violations like speeding it can lead to unexpectedly high fines.  In other situations, traffic violations can lead to jail-time. The individual who was driving on a suspended licenses, for example, who gets a speeding ticket, has much a much more difficult time than a fine.

The idea behind HTO violations is that the offender has yet to learn and will continue bad driving practices, so each offense is treated more harshly than the previous one.

Attorney for Habitual Traffic Violations in West Palm Beach, FL

If you or someone you know has been convicted of a serious traffic offense and he or she now faces additional traffic violations charges, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney in Palm Beach County, and in the surrounding counties of Broward County, Miami-Dade County, FL.

Our office handles multiple kinds of traffic offenses, both criminal and civil, with cases such as reckless driving, speeding, or driving while license suspended in Florida. Our consultations are free and our attorneys are available to fight to get your charges dropped.

Call (561) 557-8686 to schedule a face-to-face appointment with one of our experienced criminal defense attorneys.

Driving While License Suspended Elements in Palm Beach County

Florida Statute § 322.34(2) states that an individual who drives while his or her license is suspended, revoked, canceled, suspended, or disqualified while knowing of such revocation, cancellation, or suspension and the offense is the individual's third or subsequent offense, is a third-degree felony.

A habitual traffic offender (HTO) is a person that the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicle's Department defines as any person whose record shows that he or she has accumulated the specified number of convictions for the offenses described in Subsection 1 or Subsection 2 of this Statute.

Two or more of the following convictions within a five year period constitutes a third-degree felony. Those offenses include:

  • Using a motor vehicle while committing any felony offense;
  • Vehicular manslaughter;
  • Driving a commercial vehicle with a suspended license;
  • A civil infraction for driving while license suspended without knowledge (DWLS);
  • Any criminal charge of driving a motor vehicle on a suspended or revoked license (DWLSR);
  • Driving under the influence (DUI).

An alleged offender may also be classified as an HTO if he or she accumulates 15 convictions for moving traffic offenses for which points may be assessed as set forth in Fla. Stat. § 322.27.

Offenses Outlined in Florida Statute § 322.27

Fifteen or more of the following Florida criminal traffic offenses, that normally only result in points being assessed to a Florida license, may result in a third-degree felony:

Things to Know about Habitual Traffic Offenders

Most people fail to realize that paying a criminal traffic ticket still counts as a "conviction." The average person believes that paying a ticket clears it from your record and you start fresh.  That is not the case with driving regulations. A conviction occurs even if you pay the civil ticket because you are "adjudicated guilty."

The individual will receive notice of his or her status as a habitual traffic offender that must be immediately addressed. Attempting to drive with suspended licenses is typically the biggest mistake alleged offenders have.

Additional Resources

Fla. Stat. § 322.264 – Visit Online Sunshine, the official website of the Florida Legislature for the full statutory language contained in the habitual traffic offender statute.

Driver's License Check – Visit the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles to use this section of the website to check the status of a Florida driver's license. This will tell you whether your license is active, or suspended under Florida law.

Find an Attorney for Habitual Traffic Offenses in Palm Beach County, FL

The attorneys at Meltzer & Bell, P.A. are committed to representing individuals who are considered habitual traffic offenders throughout Palm Beach County, Florida. If your license has been suspended due to being a habitual traffic offender in Broward County, Palm Beach County, and speak with an experienced criminal defense team.

Our attorneys have represented West Palm Beach clients in all types of criminal traffic infractions across South Florida and are skilled advocates for the rights of alleged offenders. "Alleged" being the operative word because an individual is innocent until proven guilty and we take that adage seriously. 

Call (561) 557-8686 now for more information about how our attorneys can help. 

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