According to scientific studies, it can take a person anywhere from a few weeks to a few months to pick up a new habit; yet, in Florida, anyone who is convicted of three or more serious traffic offenses may be labeled a habitual traffic offender. Being labeled a habitual traffic offender, or “HTO,” can set your life back considerably. The moment you receive a letter from the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles claiming that you’re an HTO and can no longer drive legally, contact a West Palm Beach criminal traffic lawyer.
Three Strikes and You’re Out of a Driver’s License
A conviction of driving under the influence, driving with a suspended license with or without knowledge, and leaving the scene of an accident in which a person suffered an injury or died are just a few ways a person may receive a “strike” against their license. Receiving three or more convictions for serious traffic offenses like these on separate occasions within five years may lead to becoming an HTO and losing your driver’s license permanently through a five-year license suspension or revocation.
While it’s difficult to get around without a license, a surprising number of people become HTOs every day. Many whose licenses have been suspended without their knowledge don’t realize the severity of the threat of being labeled a habitual traffic offender by the state. Once you become a habitual traffic offender, driving while under an HTO suspension or revocation becomes a third-degree felony offense punishable by a fine of $5,000 and five years in prison.
Fortunately, there are options for enjoying your driving privileges after an HTO suspension. You can try to vacate a traffic conviction to remove your HTO status, or you may attempt to obtain a hardship license. In a nutshell, yes, drivers with an HTO may receive a hardship license; however, it might be easier to work with an attorney to vacate one of the three traffic convictions that led to your HTO in the first place, thus reinstating your full driving ability.
Obtaining a Hardship License as an HTO in Florida
Hardship licenses facilitate the commutes of people who lose their legal driving ability. A habitual traffic offender may apply for a hardship license one year after having their license suspended or revoked. To receive the hardship license, you must complete the Advanced Driver Improvement course. If you properly file your request to be considered for a hardship license, the Florida DHSMV will hold a hearing to determine whether you qualify to have your full driving privileges reinstated or whether you qualify for a restricted license for business or work purposes only.
Before jumping through hoops to obtain a hardship license that may limit your mobility, contact a knowledgeable suspended license lawyer like attorney Brian Gabriel. With more than 25 years defending criminal traffic offenses, he can take steps to try to vacate your traffic convictions so you can enjoy the freedom of an unrestricted license.
Preserve Your License with Help from a Local West Palm Beach Traffic Lawyer
The moment you receive a letter from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles stating that your driving privileges have been suspended or revoked, you should avoid driving until speaking with an attorney.
At The Law Office of Gabriel & Gabriel, we’ve helped thousands of drivers in West Palm Beach and surrounding areas keep their driver’s licenses. Our goal is to help you obtain a favorable decision from the DMV and maintain a clean record. Find out how we can help you by calling 561-622-5575 for a free consultation or complete our contact form. Brian Gabriel is a recognized Top 100 Lawyer with the National Trial Lawyers.