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Proof of HTO Status; Case Law

Court Decisions on Proof of HTO Status

Legal Opinions From The Florida Supreme Court And The District Courts Of Appeal

Last Updated: June 2, 2016

This page contains case law for establishing the evidentiary proof that a defendant is classified as a Habitual Traffic Offender.


Neary v. State, 63 So.3d 897 (Fla. 5th DCA 2011): No records maintained by the Department were utilized to establish that the Defendant was a habitual traffic offender. Out-of-state records are not maintained by the Department and cannot be the basis to qualify the defendant as a "habitual traffic offender" under section 322.264 and cannot be convicted under section 322.34(5).

State v. Alhindi, 971 So.2d 222 (Fla. 4th DCA 2008): Subsequent removal of improper designation of HTO status after being charged with DWLS-HTO does not alleviate the original status. Duty on defendant to correct error upon notice and not to drive while so designated.

State v. Byrd, 969 So.2d 581 (Fla. 4th DCA 2007): Redacted driving record is insufficient to prove DWLS-HTO if it does not show suffient convictions needed for HTO designation unless redaction is agreed upon by both parties. See, Law v. State, 40 So.3d 857 (Fla. 4th DCA 2010)(indicating it is also permissible if redacted portion's probative value is outweighed by its prejudicial effect); Weathers v. State, 937 So.2d 1132 (Fla. 4th DCA 2006)(indicating that defense waived error on redacted driving record when it failed to specifically object to it at trial).

State v. James, 928 So.2d 1269 (Fla. 2d DCA 2006): Despite a pending challenge to a prior conviction for DWLS, one of the underlying convictions that resulted in that designation, at the time of the current offense the DMV records accurately reflected the existence of three prior convictions. Any collateral challenge to a prior conviction, therefore, would not impact the facts as they were when the defendant was stopped. At that time, the DMV records accurately reflected the habitual traffic offender designation.

Kallelis v. State, 909 So.2d 544 (Fla. 4th DCA 2005): The driving record as maintained by the DMV did not show the requisite convictions to qualify him as a habitual traffic offender in accordance with the statute. Therefore, the state did not prove a prima facie case, and the judgment of acquittal should have been granted.

Jedrzewski v. DHSMV, 11 Fla. L. Weekly Supp. 888a (12th Jud. Cir., Jul 15, 2004): Although Raulerson requires knowledge of suspension by the driver in order to enhance the criminal degree of the charge of driving while license suspended, its holding does not prevent use of convictions imposed pursuant to Section 322.34(1) in determining habitual traffic offender status and subsequent Department suspensions as a result thereof.

Arnett v. State, 843 So.2d 340 (Fla. 1st DCA 2003): State attempted to introduce DHSMV Order of Suspension (not driving record) to prove DWLS-HTO. In order to be admissible under section 90.803(6)(a), the business record must be shown to have been: (1) made at or near the time of the event recorded, (2) by or from information transmitted by a person with knowledge, (3) kept in the course of a regularly conducted business activity, and (4) the regular practice of that business to make such a record.

Bowen v. State, 832 So.2d 288 (Fla. 5th DCA 2002): Proof that a defendant had accumulated three of the enumerated convictions within a five-year period is not required to establish a violation of section 322.34(5), Florida Statutes (2000).

Arthur v. State, 818 So.2d 589 (Fla. 5th DCA 2002): The elements of the offense are (1) that while defendant's license was revoked as an "habitual offender" (2) he drove a motor vehicle upon the highways of this state. The charged offense was continuing to drive after being notified that the Department had determined the defendant was an habitual traffic offender and that his license had been revoked for that reason.

State v. Fields, 809 So.2d 99 (Fla. 2d DCA 2002): When a driver has been deemed a habitual traffic offender pursuant to section 322.264 and has received adequate administrative due process as provided by that section, it is not necessary to produce certified records of the prior convictions under section 322.34(5). See, Kirschner v. State, 915 So.2d 624 (Fla. 2d DCA 2005): Where state failed to introduce driving record of the defendant.

Rodgers v. State, 804 So.2d 725 (Fla. 4th DCA 2001): The requirements for a conviction under section 322.34(5), [DWLS-HTO] the statute as written by the Legislature merely makes it necessary for the state to prove by competent evidence that DMV maintains a record on the motorist, that its record shows the requisite three separate DWLS convictions within a 5 year period, and that DMV gave the motorist the statutory notice. Affirmed, Johnson v. State, 62 So.3d 1169 (Fla. 4th DCA 2011).

Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles v. Hagar, 581 So.2d 214 (Fla. 5th DCA 1991): The Department can use out of state convictions for moving violations to account for the 15 moving violations needed to revoke the driving privileges under the Habitual Traffic Offender statute.

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