How Much Jail Time Do I Face in Florida as a Habitual Traffic Offender?
Most traffic offenses are punishable by a small fine and points assessed against one’s driving record but nothing more.
On the contrary, committing a number of traffic violations over a short amount of time, or committing serious traffic crimes can earn one the classification of a “habitual traffic offender.”
Jail time for a habitual traffic offender varies depending on the circumstances of the case.
Consider the following about what you should know about habitual traffic offender Florida jail time, and be sure to reach out to our experienced traffic and criminal defense law firm for more information.
Defining “Habitual Traffic Offender” in Florida
As found in Florida Statutes Section 322.264, a habitual traffic offender is any person whose traffic record shows that the person has accumulated a specific number of convictions or a specific number of convictions within a five-year period.
So, if a person is convicted of three or more of the following within a five-year period, they will be labeled as a habituation traffic offender:
- Voluntary or involuntary manslaughter;
- A felony where a motor vehicle is used;
- Driving with a suspended or revoked license;
- Failing to stop and help--as required by law--in a crash resulting in injury or death to another; or
- Driving a commercial vehicle with a disqualified license.
In addition to being convicted of three or more of the above offenses within a five-year period, a person can also be classified as a habitual traffic offender if they are convicted of 15 different traffic offenses/moving violation (not necessarily those above) for which points are assessed within a five-year period.
Habitual Traffic Offender Florida: Jail Time and Penalties
As found in Florida statutes, any person who is designated as a habitual traffic offender will have their driver’s license revoked for a minimum of five years. In addition to a mandatory five-year driver’s license suspension, the habituation traffic offender will also face:
- Third-degree felony charges;
- Up to a $5,000 fine; and
- Jail time of up to five years.
(Note that in some cases, a habitual traffic offender designation can be a first-degree misdemeanor charge, but only in the event that the prior driving with a suspended license charge arose from a financial obligation, such as the failure to pay child support. A first-degree misdemeanor charge will not be as harshly punished as a third-degree felony charge.)
Whether or not you are actually sentenced to jail, and whether or not you are sentenced for the maximum five-year period, will depend on a number of factors. This is one of the primary reasons why it is important to work with a skilled Florida traffic and criminal defense attorney.
Securing the Best Outcome for Your Case - Defenses and Strategies
If you are facing charges as a habitual traffic offender, it is strongly recommended that you consult with an attorney who can help you to understand your legal options and build your defense. For example, you could argue that your license suspension arose from a financial obligation, or that you had no idea that your license was suspended at the time that you were driving your motor vehicle. Also, you may be able to attack previous convictions on your record.
Your attorney can guide you through the process, your options, and the potential jail time and sentence you’re facing. For most people, avoiding jail time is the top priority - working with a skilled attorney improves the chances of this being a reality.
Contact the Traffic Law Firm of Skubiak & Rivas, P.A. Today for a Free Consultation
We know that facing a traffic offense or traffic crime can be scary, and can raise a lot of questions about what your options are. So, if you have faced numerous traffic offenses that you have now been designated as a habitual traffic offender, you are looking at a myriad of consequences, including significant jail time, a large fine, and the other, non-criminal or administrative penalties that accompany this crime, such as missed opportunities in the future.
One thing that you can do to improve the outcome of your case and protect your rights is to work with a skilled criminal defense lawyer. At the law office of Skubiak & Rivas, P.A., we have experience working with those who are facing traffic crimes of all ranges of severity, including those who have been classified as habitual traffic offenders. We will work hard to protect your rights, reduce the charges against you, or secure the least severe sentence as possible.