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Habitual Traffic Offenders

Did you recently receive a letter from the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) that you’ve been labeled as a “Habitual Traffic Offender” (HTO)? If so, we urge you to read the following article because your license is about to be revoked for up to five years.

Habitual traffic offender is a legal term for people who were convicted of three serious traffic offenses within a 5-year period. The label not only revokes your license but makes it much more difficult for you to obtain a hardship license as a result. In addition, habitual traffic offenders are also not allowed to participate in certain driving programs such as the License Reinstatement Days program.

If you or someone you know has been labeled as an HTO by the DHSMV, then it’s imperative you have legal representation as soon as possible. 

Traffic Attorneys for HTO Revocation in Palm Beach County, FL

Any suspension or revocation of your license is a hassle but when you’ve been labeled as a habitual traffic offender, things can get really complicated. People who are defined as HTOs have issues obtaining occupational licenses and must go through hoops and hurdles to have their license reinstated. However, with the help of an experienced traffic attorney you can contest your HTO status and hopefully get it removed.

To learn more on how the process works, we suggest you call Meltzer & Bell, P.A.. Our traffic attorneys understand the stress not having a license in Florida can bring. We want to assist you in going back to your daily routine by providing excellent legal representation. Call the traffic ticket attorneys now at (561) 500-5000 to set up your first consultation free. Meltzer & Bell, P.A. practices throughout the state of Florida including Palm Beach County, Sarasota County, Martin County, St. Lucie County and Broward County.

Overview of HTO Revocation in FL

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What Does Habitual Traffic Offender Mean in FL?

Florida has a special designation for people who have been convicted of multiple serious traffic crimes. These people are known as “habitual traffic offenders” are labeled by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles due to the points they’ve accumulated on their driving record. Violations occurring in other states or federally are also totaled when determining a person’s HTO status. 

Under Florida law, you can be given HTO status if you were convicted for three or more of the violations listed below within a 5-year period.

  • Voluntary or involuntary manslaughter;
  • Current or former DUI laws;
  • Any felony where a motor vehicle was used during the crime;
  • Driving a motor vehicle with a suspended or revoked license;
  • Failing to stop and render aid when involved in crash with serious injury or death; or
  • Driving a commercial vehicle with a disqualified CDL 

You can also be labeled as an HTO if you were convicted fifteen times for moving traffic offenses. These moving violations include, but are not limited to:

  • Permitted the unlawful or fraudulent use of your driver’s license;
  • Reckless driving;
  • Passing a stopped school bus;
  • Leaving the scene of a crash involving property damage;
  • Unlawful speed or use or a wireless communication device resulting in a crash;
  • Running a red light or stop sign;
  • Improper lane changes;
  • Rolling stops; and
  • Following another car too closely (tailgating)

Habitual traffic offenders must have their license suspended for up to 5 years. They are unable to obtain a hardship license until they have served out one year of their suspension.

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How to Remove Your HTO Status in Florida

Many people receive their DHSMV letter and simply wait out their suspension as an HTO. However, you don’t have to do this. You can fight for your driving privileges by filing a request for an HTO hearing. At the hearing, you can contest your HTO status and give reasons as to why you should retain your driving privileges.

There are different timing issues you must deal with before filing a legal challenge. You can contest two years after you were convicted of your last offense or ticket or 30 days after you receive notice of your HTO status. To learn all the avenues of attack to remove an HTO suspension, we urge you to get in contact with an experienced traffic attorney today.

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What Happens if You Drive as a Habitual Traffic Offender?

It’s highly advised you avoid driving if you’ve been labeled as a habitual traffic offender. If you’re arrested, you will be charged with a third-degree felony for driving under an HTO revocation. You could be sentenced to up to: 

  • Five years in a state prison; and
  • A fine of up to $5,000

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Can I Get a Hardship License as a Habitual Traffic Offender?

It’s common for traffic offenders to file a request for a hardship license after they received their suspension notice. However, if you’ve been designated as an HTO you cannot receive a hardship license at all during the first year of your suspension. After the one year is up, you can then apply for a hardship license through the Administrative Review Office.  

Before you can be eligible for a hardship license, you must complete the Advanced Driver Improvement (ADI) School. If alcohol was involved, then you will be required to attend a Driving Under the Influence (DUI) school depending on the circumstances of the case.

DHSMV will investigate your ability to drive after you file the petition. They will then hold an administrative hearing to determine whether you should obtain a hardship license or not. If you’re successful in the hearing, the judge will allow you to obtain a hardship license to drive for certain activities such as commuting to work or getting household items. 

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Additional Resources

Habitual Traffic Offenders – Visit the official website for the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles to learn more about HTO. Access their site to learn how a person’s labeled as HTO, when you can apply for a hardship license, and links to court-ordered schools you must attend to have your license reinstated. 

Florida Laws on Habitual Traffic Offenders – Visit the official website for the Florida Statutes to learn more about habitual traffic offenders. Access the site to learn how one can become an HTO, what former laws are counted for HTO status and more. 

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HTO Defense Lawyer in West Palm Beach, FL

If you or someone you know received notice of their HTO status, we urge you to get in contact with our experienced attorneys at Meltzer & Bell, P.A.. The traffic ticket attorneys at Meltzer & Bell, P.A. have been practicing for years and understand what it takes to fight back an HTO revocation. You owe yourself a chance to speak to a legal professional and learn all your options before you submit to your license suspension. 

Call (561) 500-5000 to set up your first consultation with us today. We can sit with you and discuss your case in further detail. Meltzer & Bell, P.A. represents people throughout the state of Florida including West Palm Beach, Stuart, Fort Lauderdale, Sarasota, Boca Raton, Fort Lauderdale, Jupiter, and Palm Beach.

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Meltzer & Bell, P.A.

Lawrence Meltzer & Steven Bell

Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers Super Lawyers Martindale-Hubble
Meltzer & Bell, P.A.
Palm Beach
515 N Flagler Dr #240
West Palm Beach, FL 33401
(561) 557-8686
110 SE 6th St Suite 1749
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301
(954) 745-7457