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Habitual Traffic Offender (HTO)

Florida law seeks to take people with multiple moving violations, or three or more serious ones, off the road by declaring them habitual traffic offenders. If you are declared a habitual traffic offender, you will be prohibited from driving for at least five years. If arrested for allegedly driving, you could be charged with a felony offense.

No one plans to become a habitual traffic offender. It is something that can happen if a person accepts the consequences of every citation or violation. Avoiding the habitual traffic offender designation is one of the main reasons to always fight every citation, no matter how “minor” it might seem.

Preventing Habitual Traffic Offender Designation in Palm Beach County

An attorney can help you fight traffic violations so you can avoid losing your license after being declared a habitual traffic offender. At Meltzer & Bell, P.A., our West Palm Beach traffic and DUI defense lawyers fight any violation of the law, criminal or noncriminal, that can be committed behind the wheel, so that our clients can avoid both the short-term repercussions, like fines, and the long-term ones, including being designated a habitual offender.

A speeding ticket may not seem like a big deal, but it can make the difference between keeping and losing your license for half a decade.  While multiple speeding tickets alone do not “qualify” to make you a habitual traffic offender under Florida law for the 5-year revocation, multiple moving violations can lead to license suspensions, which in turn can ultimately result in charges which cause that designation.

We offer a money-back guarantee – no points, no school or your money back – for noncriminal infractions not involving an accident (some restrictions apply, and court costs may apply in addition to the attorney fees).

We also represent people facing allegations of driving under suspension after being designated a habitual offender.

Call us today at (561) 557-8686 if you’ve been cited or face accusations so we can help you avoid that designation. We help people in Miramar, West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Boynton Beach, Hollywood, Delray Beach, Pembroke Pines, Boca Raton, Wellington, and Coral Springs.


Overview of Habitual Offender Designation in Florida


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Definition of a Habitual Offender Under Florida Law

Habitual traffic offender is defined in Florida Statutes Annotated § 322.264 is a person who has, in the past five years, committed 15 moving violations, or committed three or more of the following offenses:

  • Vehicular manslaughter;
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs;
  • Any felony during the commission of which a motor vehicle was used;
  • Driving while license suspended or revoked;
  • Failing to stop and render aid after an accident; or
  • Driving a commercial vehicle while the driver’s commercial driver’s license has been disqualified.

Prior convictions for violations of similar laws in other states or under federal law count toward this total. For example, if you have a violation for driving with a license that had been taken away from you in another state, then two of the above violations in Florida could lead to the HTO designation, even if the statute in the other state is not exactly the same.

Upon the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles’ declaration of a person as a habitual traffic offender, it revokes that person’s driver’s license. He or she will not legally be allowed to obtain a fully valid license for at least five years under Florida Statutes Annotated § 322.27(5).


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Crime of Driving While License Suspended Due to HTO Designation

If you are charged with driving in Florida with a license revoked as a habitual offender, under certain circumstances, it is a third-degree felony, punishable by up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine (Florida Statutes Annotated § 322.34(5)). An attorney can defend you if you face charges of illegally driving as a habitual traffic offender.

In fact, the Office of the State Attorney may have charged you with a felony offense when the reason for the habitual traffic offender designation calls for a misdemeanor or lesser charge.


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Obtaining Your Florida License Again After It Has Been Revoked

After a year, a person declared a habitual offender will be able to petition for a restricted license to allow him or her to drive to and from work, and for employment-related purposes.

After five years or the designated time, the Department will consider your application to have your license reinstated. It will look carefully at your fitness and qualifications, and hold a hearing whether it should grant your license back, and, if so, whether it should be restricted or unrestricted.

Before you obtain your license you must provide to the court proof that you enrolled in an approved advanced driver improvement class, per Florida Statutes Annotated § 322.291.


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Broward County Lawyers Helping Residents Avoid Becoming Habitual Traffic Offenders

It is critical that you do everything you can to avoid being labeled a habitual traffic offender. Whether you are on the cusp of 15 violations or it’s your first traffic ticket, the key is to fight. Our West Palm Beach traffic lawyers can help you do just that. We represent people in Palm Beach County and Broward County accused of criminal and noncriminal infractions, from speeding to vehicular manslaughter. Call us today at (561) 557-8686 to set up a consultation.

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West Palm Beach, FL 33401
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Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301
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Stuart, FL 34994
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Aventura, FL 33180
211 S 2nd St
Fort Pierce, FL 34950
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