Florida’s HTO Amnesty Program
In Florida, a person designated as a Habitual Traffic Offender (HTO) loses their license to drive for a period of five years. You may be given that designation by the Department of Highway Safety Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) by having three convictions for any of the following offenses within a five year period:
Voluntary or involuntary manslaughter resulting from the operation of a motor vehicle
Any violation of 316.193 (driving under the influence or DUI)
Any felony in the commission of which a motor vehicle is used
Driving a motor vehicle while your license is suspended (DWLS)
Failing to stop and render aid, as required under the laws of Florida, in the event of a motor vehicle crash resulting in death or personal injury of another
Driving a commercial motor vehicle while your license is suspended
By far the most common reason for being designated as a Habitual Traffic Offender is for three convictions for driving while suspended license. A person could receive three traffic citations for driving on a suspended license without ever knowing their license was suspended and could have their license revoked for a period of five years. Until recently there was very little that could be done for this hapless person. The DHSMV is now offering an amnesty for qualifying offenders.
The intent of the amnesty program is to allow people designated as a HTO to provide proof of compliance with the underlying sanction for the driving on a suspended license and they will have their HTO status removed.
There are two criteria for initially qualifying for the amnesty program:
The first is that their reason for the HTO designation is three driving on suspended license (DWLS) convictions.
The second criterion is that at least one of the driving on a suspended license must be for non-driving related suspensions. An example of a non-driving related suspension is for failing to pay child support or failing to maintain insurance.
It is important to understand that the amnesty program will not remove these convictions from your record but will only allow you to be removed from habitual traffic offender status. Additionally, this program will only be available until June 30, 2011. After the expiration of this time period an offender will not have the ability to take advantage of this program.
Benefits of the Program
In addition to being able to drive, there are other benefits of participating in the amnesty program. If you are caught driving on a suspended license as a habitual traffic offender you will be prosecuted criminally. Even if you have never had a criminal offense in your life you will be subject to criminal sanctions, and depending on your past criminal history may be subject to a felony conviction.
An experienced Florida criminal defense attorney will be able to determine if you qualify for this program and help remove you from the habitual traffic offender designation.