Eric J. Dirga, P.A., Criminal Traffic Defense, Telephone 407-841-5555

Florida Habitual Traffic Offender Law

The Florida law regarding Habitual Traffic Offender [HTO] designation and the 5-year suspension are spread out over several statutes. The main statutes have been listed below. Note - not all laws that impact Habitual Traffic Offender status are listed. The purpose for this information is to give you an idea of the laws that del with the Habitual Traffic Offender designation.

322.264 "Habitual traffic offender" defined.--A "habitual traffic offender" is any person whose record, as maintained by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, shows that such person has accumulated the specified number of convictions for offenses described in subsection (1) or subsection (2) within a 5-year period: MY NOTES: The caselaw on this indicates that even if DMV mistakenly designates you as HTO it is up to you to correct it.
(1) Three or more convictions of any one or more of the following offenses arising out of separate acts:
(a) Voluntary or involuntary manslaughter resulting from the operation of a motor vehicle;
(b) Any violation of s. 316.193, former s. 316.1931, or former s. 860.01; This refers to DUIs.
(c) Any felony in the commission of which a motor vehicle is used; Fleeing and Eluding; Aggravated Assault/Battery; etc.
(d) Driving a motor vehicle while his or her license is suspended or revoked; By far the most often reason for being designated as a Habitual Traffic Offender.
(e) Failing to stop and render aid as required under the laws of this state in the event of a motor vehicle crash resulting in the death or personal injury of another; or
(f) Driving a commercial motor vehicle while his or her privilege is disqualified.
(2) Fifteen convictions for moving traffic offenses for which points may be assessed as set forth in s. 322.27, including those offenses in subsection (1). This is the 45 points within 60 months suspension.
Any violation of any federal law, any law of another state or country, or any valid ordinance of a municipality or county of another state similar to a statutory prohibition specified in subsection (1) or subsection (2) shall be counted as a violation of such prohibition. In computing the number of convictions, all convictions during the 5 years previous to July 1, 1972, will be used, provided at least one conviction occurs after that date. The fact that previous convictions may have resulted in suspension, revocation, or disqualification under another section does not exempt them from being used for suspension or revocation under this section as a habitual offender. This allows the DMV to use out-of-state infractions to determine whether you are to be designated as a habitual traffic offender.
322.34 Driving while license suspended, revoked, canceled, or disqualified.--
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(5) Any person whose driver's license has been revoked pursuant to s. 322.264 (habitual offender) and who drives any motor vehicle upon the highways of this state while such license is revoked is guilty of a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084. Penalty for driving while a Habitual Traffic offender, but see (10) below.
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(10)(a) Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, if a person does not have a prior forcible felony conviction as defined in s. 776.08, (definition) the penalties provided in paragraph (b) apply if a person's driver's license or driving privilege is canceled, suspended, or revoked for: Notwithstanding paragraph (5), under certain circumstances an DWLS-HTO charge can be a misdemeanor.
1. Failing to pay child support as provided in s. 322.245 or s. 61.13016; Financial
2. Failing to pay any other financial obligation as provided in s. 322.245 other than those specified in s. 322.245(1); 322.245(1) are criminal court fees but specific notice must be sent.
3. Failing to comply with a civil penalty required in s. 318.15; Traffic tickets; failure to pay OR appear.
4. Failing to maintain vehicular financial responsibility as required by chapter 324; Maintaining insurance coverage.
5. Failing to comply with attendance or other requirements for minors as set forth in s. 322.091; or Educational requirements.
6. Having been designated a habitual traffic offender under s. 322.264(1)(d) as a result of suspensions of his or her driver's license or driver privilege for any underlying violation listed in subparagraphs 1.-5. Not sure if all driving with suspensions have to fall under these circumstances.
(b)1. Upon a first conviction for knowingly driving while his or her license is suspended, revoked, or canceled for any of the underlying violations listed in subparagraphs (a)1.-6., a person commits a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
2. Upon a second or subsequent conviction for the same offense of knowingly driving while his or her license is suspended, revoked, or canceled for any of the underlying violations listed in subparagraphs (a)1.-6., a person commits a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
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