A new year is just around the corner, and many of us are already coming up with fresh ideas for self-improvement. If one of your new year’s resolutions for 2020 involves getting your driver’s license back as a Habitual Traffic Offender (HTO), it may now be easier than ever to remove HTO status from your record. The Florida Supreme Court made changes to the Rules of Traffic Court at the start of 2019 to simplify the process and legal arguments for removing a person’s HTO status.
As a habitual traffic offender, you lose your driver’s license for five years. Being an HTO can make it nearly impossible to get around South Florida, which can interfere with commuting to work, running errands, and other aspects of your daily life. Your main goal when you receive a notice that your license has been suspended because you’re now an HTO should be to take all available measures to reinstate your driving privilege. You may have a better chance of success when you work with a skilled traffic attorney.
Why Being Labeled an HTO Creates Hardships
Per Florida Statute §322.264, a “habitual traffic offender” is any person whose record with the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles shows that he or she has accumulated the specified number of convictions for specific traffic offenses defined in the statute within a 5-year period.
Traffic offenses for which three or more convictions arising out of separate acts may lead to being labeled an HTO include:
- Voluntary or involuntary manslaughter resulting from operating a motor vehicle
- Any DUI charge
- Any felony offense for which the suspect used a motor vehicle
- Driving a motor vehicle with a suspended or revoked license
- Failing to render aid after a collision which resulted in the personal injury or death of another motorist
- Driving a commercial vehicle without commercial driving privileges
- Having fifteen convictions for moving traffic offenses which resulted in points assessed against the driver’s license
Most often, Florida drivers in West Palm Beach are surprised to receive notifications in the mail about their HTO status due to multiple convictions of driving with a suspended license. A person may be labeled an “HTO” whether or not he or she knew about their suspended license before driving.
Discovering that you’re an HTO in West Palm Beach can be devastating. It can mean the end of driving legally for five years. Very few people can patiently wait until their licenses are reinstated by running out the clock; so, most choose to work with a knowledgeable attorney to regain their driving privileges. Changes to the State’s traffic court rules may make it easier to get your license back.
Beneficial Changes to the Rules of Traffic Court in Florida
The Florida Traffic Court amended Rule 6.490: Correction and Reduction of Penalty, on January 1, 2019. The rule now includes:
- Correction of Penalty: An official may at any time correct an illegal penalty.
- Reduction of Penalty: An official may reduce a legal penalty within 60 days after its imposition, or thereafter with good causes shown.
Speak with a qualified attorney in West Palm Beach to discuss your traffic charges. With the help of an attorney like Brian P. Gabriel, it may be possible to vacate one of the convictions that led up to your HTO status, thus freeing you from its restrictions.
Overturning Your HTO with The Law Office of Gabriel & Gabriel
With more than 30 years of experience helping the people of Palm Beach County resolve a myriad of traffic issues, Brian Gabriel is a trustworthy attorney who stays ahead of the latest legislation at the local, state, and federal levels. As a National Trial Lawyers Top 100 Trial Lawyer, he is qualified to investigate all the facts of your traffic charges and help you secure your future.
There may be several avenues to overturn your Habitual Traffic Offender status. For a free consultation, call 561-622-5575 or complete our contact form.