What Is a Habitual Traffic Offender in Florida?
Traffic violations happen regularly, especially for individuals who regularly commute to work, school, or to and from appointments.
If you accrue numerous traffic violations, you might face long-term license suspensions. Unfortunately, license suspensions in Florida happen frequently.
In Florida in 2017, nearly 1.3 million driver licenses were suspended or revoked.
Habitual traffic violators in Florida may lose their licenses for up to five years. Losing your license can have a devastating effect on your life.
If you received a letter from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles revoking your license, contact a qualified attorney today to discuss your legal options.
What Is a Habitual Traffic Offender?
Florida statute 322.264 defines a habitual traffic offender as any person who accumulated a specified number of traffic offenses within five years.
Fifteen Minor Moving Violations in Five Years
If a driver collects fifteen moving violations within five years, the driver may face license revocation.
Common types of minor traffic violations include:
- Running a red light,
- Failing to yield to traffic,
- Failing to stop at a stop sign,
- Driving without headlights,
- Driving on the shoulder, or
- Driving without a seatbelt.
If a driver receives a driving ticket resulting in a points violation, that offense will count toward the total number of offenses for a habitual traffic offender calculation.
Unfortunately, non-traffic offenses also count toward your total.
Types of non-traffic offenses that can cause license suspension include:
- Missing a child support payment,
- Writing a check that bounces, and
- Missing a court date unrelated to a traffic offense.
Both traffic offenses and some types of non-traffic offenses count towards the calculation for habitual traffic offender status. If you reach a combined fifteen traffic and non-traffic violations, you may lose your license.
Three Major Violations in Five Years
If a driver receives three major violations within five years, the driver will receive a habitual traffic offender designation.
Major violations include:
- Driving while a license is suspended or revoked,
- Failing to stop and render aid during an accident as required by Florida law,
- Voluntary or involuntary manslaughter resulting from the operation of a vehicle, and
- Any felony where an offender used a car to commit a crime.
Calculating the number of traffic offenses includes any federal offenses and those offenses that happen in other states with similar traffic laws.
If you receive a traffic violation for a major offense in another state, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles will count that offense against you.
If a driver receives a Habitual Traffic Offender designation, the driver will lose their license for five years.
If I Am a Habitual Traffic Offender, Can I Get My License Back?
Florida law allows drivers with suspended or revoked licenses to apply for hardship licenses. Hardship licenses enable a person to drive on a limited basis, usually to and from work, school, or medical appointments.
To receive a hardship license, a driver must apply through the Administrative Reviews Office. The driver must submit proof of an Advanced Driver Improvement (ADI) school completion. The driver must also pay a reinstatement and any other applicable licensing fees.
However, a driver cannot apply for a hardship license until at least 30 days after the original suspension. Drivers who apply for a hardship license are not guaranteed to receive one. Many drivers cannot afford to lose their driving privileges for that long.
Once the suspension expires, a driver may apply for full reinstatement of his or her license. The driver must submit proof of completing a driving school program and provide any applicable fees.
Alternatively, a driver may be able to fight his or her habitual traffic offender status.
Should I Hire an Attorney?
An experienced Florida defense attorney knows how to have license revocations or suspensions lifted and may be able to help you reinstate your license sooner.
In some cases, Florida law allows you to reopen a case for up to two years after the date of conviction. A skilled attorney can file a postconviction motion to challenge one or more of the previous traffic offenses.
Getting a prior conviction dismissed or reduced to a lesser charge may be enough to remove the habitual traffic offender designation and have your license reinstated.
The attorneys at Skubiak & Rivas, P.A. have 25 years of experience successfully defending our clients' interests. We know hard it can be to lose your license.
We will fight diligently to remove your prior convictions and have your license reinstated. Our law office provides free legal consultations to help you understand your legal options.
If you received a habitual traffic offender status and you lost your license, contact our offices at 407-598-8413 or fill out an online form today.