Habitual Traffic Offender Status Can Now be Removed and Overturned
Written by Moses & Rooth Attorneys at Law on January 23, 2019
It’s 2019, don’t you think it’s time to get your license back? Start the year off right.
Public transportation in Florida is just not good enough. Having a valid driver’s license is a must, so listen up if you received a Habitual Traffic Offender notice. The Florida Supreme Court issued changes to the Florida Rules of Traffic Court starting January 1, 2019. These Traffic Court changes make the process and legal arguments for removal of a habitual offender status (HTO) much easier. If the Florida Department of Highway Safety Motor Vehicles labels you as a Habitual Traffic Offender, you will have a driver’s license suspension for 5 years.
How Habitual Traffic Offender is Defined
Florida Statute 322.264 defines Habitual Traffic Offender (3-strike rule) as any person who has accumulated three or more or the following offenses:
- Voluntary or involuntary Manslaughter
- Any Driving Under the Influence charge
- Any Felony in the commission of which a motor vehicle is used
- Driving While License Suspended
- Failure to stop and render aid as required by law in the event of a motor vehicle crash
- Driving a commercial vehicle when not qualified
****15 convictions for moving traffic offenses for which points may be assessed may also result in Habitual Status
The most common reason for issuance of a Habitual Traffic Offender Suspension is 3 convictions of driving on a suspended license. It does not matter if the DWLS (driving while license suspended) was with OR without knowledge. Prior to January 1, 2019, the Florida Rules of Traffic Court only allowed for a reduction in penalty for traffic court within 60 days. Florida Traffic Court Rule 6.490 Correction and Reduction of Penalty was changed on January 1, 2019 to include:
- Correction of Penalty. An official may at any time correct an illegal penalty.
- Reduction of Penalty. An official may reduce a legal penalty:
- Within 60 days after its imposition, or thereafter with good cause shown
State of Florida v. Brandi Vessels, 26 Fla Fla. L. Weekly Supp. 868 (Fla. 18th Cir Ct. 2018)
Challenging a Habitual Traffic Offender Conviction
Attacking the conviction for a Civil Driving on a suspended License without knowledge can now legally be challenged after the 60 day time limit that was previously restricting some courts from making a modification. Good cause must be detailed and explained to the court for consideration. So, if you have 3 driving on a suspended license without knowledge convictions within a 5 year period, a motion must be filed with the court to overturn the conviction and change the sentence (withhold of adjudication). Once this is accomplished the order for the court must direct the clerk to notify the DMV of the sentencing change in order for the habitual traffic offender status to be removed.
If you have a HTO suspension, call us at 407-377-0150. We may be able to have that suspension overturned.