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What Is A Habitual Traffic Offender In Florida?


Any traffic ticket can ruin your day. For those with a prior history of driving offenses, all traffic tickets need to be taken seriously. Another violation could even put you at risk of being labeled as a habitual traffic offender (HTO). It is a status that causes the automatic revocation of your driver’s license for five years. You need to know how to protect yourself and your rights. Here, our Orlando traffic defense lawyers provide a guide to Florida’s habitual traffic offender laws.

 Know the Law: Florida’s Habitual Traffic Offender (HTO) Statute

Under Florida law (Florida Statutes § 322.264), a habitual traffic offender is defined as a driver who has “accumulated the specified number of convictions for offenses” to be subject to automatic penalties based on the totality of their driving record. The penalties for being classified as an HTO in Florida are significant. Beyond any penalties for the specific offenses in question, the status of a habitual traffic offender carries a five year license revocation.

You Will Be Classified as an HTO if Convicted for Three of the Following Offenses (Five Years) 

In Florida, a driver will be classified as a habitual offender of traffic laws if they are convicted of three qualifying offenses within any five year period. The specific offenses named in the statute are as follows:

  • Vehicular manslaughter;
  • Vehicle use in commission of felony offense;
  • Suspended/revoked license violation;
  • Unlawfully leaving the scene of a motor vehicle collision; and
  • Intoxicated driving (drunk driving or drugged driving).

These are the five offenses listed under Florida’s HTO law. Notably, you can also be classified as a HTO and have your license revoked if you commit 15 total traffic violations (any offenses) within a five year period. For example, 15 speeding ticket convictions within five years will get you classified as a habitual offender. In other words, it is important to be very careful if your traffic offenses are adding up on your driving record. You should consult with a traffic defense attorney.

The Option for Early Reinstatement: Hardship License 

A driver who is classified as a habitual offender in Florida will have their license automatically revoked by the DMV. You need to avoid a three conviction of a listed offense or a 15th total conviction to avoid revocation. If your license has already been revoked for HTO status, you could still have an option to get it back early. The Florida DMV does issue hardship licenses—a limited purpose license—for motorists who can show good cause.

Speak to a Traffic Offense Defense Attorney in Central Florida

At The Baez Law Firm, our Orlando criminal defense lawyer has the professional experience and proven experience to handle all types of traffic law matters, including habitual traffic offender cases. If you have any questions about a habitual traffic offender case, we can help. Contact our criminal defense team today for a strictly private consultation. With law offices in Orlando and Miami, we are well-positioned to serve communities in Central Florida and South Florida.



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