Habitual Traffic Offenders in Florida
Let The Law Offices of Kate Mesic, P.A. Help You
If you received notice that you have been classified as a Habitual Traffic Offender (HTO), you need to make sure you understand what it means, and most importantly what are your options. Many times our Jacksonville traffic crime attorneys are able to help clients lift the suspension and avoid the dreaded five year revocation of their driver license.
Call The Law Offices of Kate Mesic at (904) 615-8950 to start the evaluation process.
Two Types of Driving on a Suspended License
In order to understand HTO suspension, it is important to distinguish between two types of driving on a suspended license: knowingly and unknowingly.
Knowingly DWLSR looks like a traffic citation, but it is a criminal traffic citation and is issued after the person was given notice of the suspension. In a case of this sort, you would actually have to appear in court and enter a plea to resolve the matter or fight it to get it dropped. Many times, when we represent clients on DWLSR, and there are not defenses, we are able to get it reduced to a no valid driver license charge, so it does not count toward the three violations.
What is tricky, and most of the time people don’t realize, is that even if the Judge withholds adjudication of guilt, meaning it is not a conviction, the case will still count towards the three driving on license suspended or revoked within five years. The second type of DWLSR is unknowingly, and that is a civil citation, meaning it is a traffic ticket that would be issued at a regular traffic stop and no one goes to jail. However, this is the one that gets people all the time.
Don’t Just Pay Your Ticket
It is not a good idea to just pay any traffic ticket, because it will automatically be considered a plea of guilty and points will be assessed. But it is especially a bad idea on a DWLSR unknowingly traffic ticket, because once you pay it, it is a conviction for the purposes of the DMV and it will count towards the three within five years convictions that the DMV looks for. The trick here is to have adjudication withheld and avoid a conviction, and this way it will not count.
What if you got three unknowingly DWLSRs within five years, you just paid the traffic tickets, thinking you were doing the right thing. You get a notice in the mail that you have been designated HTO and your license will be suspended for five years. Please realize, that getting another criminal charge of DWLSR while you are a Habitual Traffic Offender is a felony of the 3rd degree, punishable by up to five years in jail and up to $5,000 fine.
For the aggressive and intelligent defense strategies you need, call our Jacksonville traffic ticket attorneys at (904) 615-8950. Our firm offers free consultations to help you get started.