Get a Copy of Your Driving Record and Contact An Experienced HTO Florida Attorney for a Free Consultation
If you have received notice of a Florida Habitual Traffic Offender revocation from the Department of Motor Vehicles you must act quickly to preserve all of your rights to contest the five year revocation. An experienced Florida Habitual Traffic Offender Attorney can file a motion to remove one or more of the underlying offenses that caused your revocation, especially if one of those offenses was for Driving While License Suspended. That motion for rehearing must usually be filed within 30 days after the conviction occurred (or 60 days with the court's permission). Other avenues of attack exist up to two years after the suspension under Rule 3.850. In some cases it is necessary to request an administrative records review hearing with the DHSMV within 30 days after the Order of Revocation is issued.
If You Don't Fix the Problem, the Five (5) Year HTO Revocation is Costly
If you do not get the "order of license revocation" lifted then the HTO five year revocation will be costly. Your driver license will be revoked for 5 years. After 1 year from the effective date of revocation, you can request a hardship license. In order to request a hardship license, contact the Florida Administrative Reviews Office where you live. If alcohol was involved in any of the underlying offenses then a Driving Under the Influence (DUI) school will be required. If alcohol was not involved, the Advanced Driver Improvement (ADI) School will be required.
Additionally, you should expect your auto insurance premiums to skyrocket up to 300% for the entire 5 year period. The HTO revocation may effect your ability to find a job or get a promotion. Why suffer these consequences when you may be able to undo or reverse the damage?
How the Five (5) Year Habitual Traffic Offender Suspension Occurred- Civil Infractions
The most common HTO revocations in Florida occur when an individual receives 3 tickets for driving while license suspended without knowledge. Many people have no idea that paying three civil tickets for driving while license suspended without knowledge can cause a five year HTO revocation. Although these cases are the most common, they are also the easiest to reverse. Many of these individuals had valid defenses to the underlying offenses. Most importantly, most of these individuals could have simply gone to court to ask for a withhold of adjudication on the civil infraction for driving while license suspended without knowledge and thereby avoided that infraction as counting toward the three cases that cause a five year HTO suspension.
An attorney can file a motion to undo one of the underlying offenses, and then you revocation will be lifted, sometimes within just a few days or weeks.
How the Five (5) Year Habitual Traffic Offender Revocation Occurred- Criminal Infractions
Under Florida law, if you have been convicted of any combination of the three offenses listed below within a Five (5) year period then will receive the five year HTO revocation:
*Driving on a suspended license (even if you got a withhold of adjudication),
*Leaving the scene of an accident with serious injury;
*Using a motor vehicle to commit another felony offense; or
*Driving a commercial vehicle while your driver's license is suspended.
WIthin 30 (and sometimes 60) Days of the Conviction- Filing a Motion to Withdraw Plea
If the underlying offense is a civil traffic offense, you may be able to file a motion to withdraw plea within 30 days of the conviction (or 60 days with the court's permission). But act quickly. Your best chance of undoing the damage is to act immediately after receiving notice of the five year HTO revocation. Contact an experienced Florida Habitual Traffic Offender Attorney immediately so your motion can be filed within the time limit.
Visit the links below for more information on HTO motions to vacate or set aside a conviction.
Within 60 days of Receiving the Order of License Revocation, Suspension or Cancellation
In certain cases, you should attack the order of revocation itself by applying for an administrative hearing to review the records if there is any mistake on the order of revocation or if you have legal cause to show the action is unjustified. You may also need to file an appeal- called a "writ of certiorari" under Florida Statute Section 322.31, if you are not granted relief at the administrative hearing.
Visit the links below for more information on HTO administrative hearings.
Within 2 years of the Date of Conviction for one of the underlying offenses
If you are outside of the 60 day period to withdraw a plea, then the trial court has lost any jurisdiction to set aside your conviction unless you file a post-conviction motion under Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.850. You must have a viable claim and the court may require a hearing in which you must call witnesses. You only have one chance to remove an underlying offense, so contact an attorney to review all of your options.
Rule 3.850 motions can be effective ways to set aside (or eliminate) an underlying offense that caused the suspension. These motions are difficult to litigate, and an appeal from an adverse ruling may be necessary. Although in many cases, the court will have great sympathy for someone suffering under a five year Habitual Traffic Offender suspension, especially in those cases in which the driving record is not terrible.
Visit the links below for more information on Rule 3.850 motions to undo a HTO suspension.
Additional resources provided by the author
CLICK HERE - Visit the links below for more detailed information on contesting or fighting a five year Habitual Traffic Offender Suspension. The first step is getting a recent copy of your driver's license. Visit the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles for detailed information on obtaining a copy of your driving record, including links to third party on line providers that can send your driving record in real time. http://www.flhsmv.gov/ddl/abstract.html.