After a demanding day at work, the last thing you want to find in your mailbox is a notice from the DMV stating that your license will be suspended for five years. Anyone whose license is suspended for five years is considered a Habitual Traffic Offender, a hurdle that is difficult to overcome without the help of a West Palm Beach driver’s license lawyer. If you want to get your license back, there are important pieces of information your attorney needs to know to help you remove HTO from your driving record, including what caused you to become a habitual traffic offender.
A 5-year license suspension or revocation doesn’t happen overnight. It takes multiple traffic violations or the commission of a severe traffic offense for the DMV to lose their trust in a person as a safe driver. If you’re facing an upcoming suspension, our law firm can review the charges against you and help you fight for your license.
Scenarios that May Lead to a Habitual Traffic Offender Suspension
It doesn’t take much for the Florida Department of Safety and Motor Vehicles to flag you as a dangerous driver. Sometimes, the best way to understand the sequences of events that could lead to HTO is to review examples of how it might happen. If you can relate to any of the examples below, there might be a way to avoid the long-term effects of living without a valid driver’s license in West Palm Beach.
Driver A received a Palm Beach County citation for driving with a revoked or suspended license in Wellington. Her license was originally suspended over an unpaid speeding ticket. She paid the tickets for both speeding and driving with a suspended license, and the DMV restored her license. She went about her business, believing that everything had settled. A month later, she received a letter from the DMV stating that her license would be suspended for five years as a Habitual Traffic Offender in Florida because of a drunk driving conviction.
Admitting guilt to the moving and criminal traffic violations by paying the fines incurred two of the three “strikes” necessary to be considered an HTO. The final drunk driving charge was the third “strike” necessary for Driver A to reach her limit, causing the DMV to invoke a more severe penalty.
How can Driver A get her license back?
Driver A is a motivated career woman with a 45-minute commute to her office. Like most people, she relies on her vehicle for transportation to be at work on time five days out of every week. If she loses her license, she could become an unreliable employee and lose her job. Without a job, she can be financially devastated and find it even more challenging to provide for herself. Without the means to fight her traffic charges, she may not be able to afford quality representation to help her get her life back in order.
Driver A became a Habitual Traffic Offender by being convicted of three qualifying offenses within five years. If she reaches out to a criminal traffic lawyer soon after receiving the DMV notice, her attorney can attempt to remove one of the three convictions that caused the HTO designation, and she will no longer qualify for HTO status. If Driver A continues to drive as an HTO and gets caught, she could face a felony charge.
Driver B travels between Broward and Palm Beach County for work and spends a significant amount of time in her vehicle as part of her job. She has been flagged frequently by Broward and Palm Beach County traffic officers and has been cited several times for moving violations. Driver B is diligent about her traffic tickets and pays them all on time. While she has not ignored any of the DMV’s citations, the DMV has applied several points to her license. Within five years, her license absorbed 15 moving violations on which points were assessed, leading to a 5-year license suspension as a Habitual Traffic Offender.
How can Driver B get her license back?
Driver B made a poor choice when she chose to pay for all her traffic tickets, which led to points against her license. Had she worked with an attorney to fight the traffic charges instead of paying the tickets, she likely could have avoided most, if not all, of the convictions. License points not only lead to higher car insurance bills, but they also show the DMV that you are not a reliably safe driver. An attorney could intervene after all these points were accumulated to get a conviction removed, reducing the total number of offenses and canceling the HTO designation.
Fight Your License Suspension in West Palm Beach
Being a Habitual Traffic Offender can have many negative effects on your life that you might not realize right away. The sooner you speak with a Habitual Traffic Offender defense lawyer, the sooner you might be able to regain your driving privileges.
At The Law Office of Gabriel & Gabriel, our firm dedicates a significant amount of time and resources to fighting traffic charges throughout Palm Beach County. Brian P. Gabriel is one of the National Trial Lawyers’ Top 100 Trial Lawyers and has served his community for more than 25 years. Find out how he can help you fight an HTO designation by calling 561-622-5575 or complete our contact form today.