(Cont.) Due to none payment of fines (tickets) doesn't ot pose to be a misdemeanor?
The assistant state attorney realized that since you were not a "true" habitual traffic offender because your three driving while license suspended offenses were due solely to unpaid fines, and you did not have a forcible felony prior, they would not be able to prove your guilt under the habitual traffic offender statute.
However, they can prove you guilty of driving while license suspended, third offense. They would need to prove up two prior convictions with certified copies of same.
The legislature tried to help those with suspensions due solely to unpaid traffic fines. However, they left a loophole in the law for the state attorney to take advantage of by maintaining that a third driving while license suspended conviction would be a felony of the third degree.
Is up to the state whether to use that statute and charge your case as a third-degree felony or as a misdemeanor of the first degree. In some counties, your case would remain in misdemeanor division. In your jurisdiction, the state feels it should prosecute the matter as a felony. They probably have more time to devote to this kind of a felony and as long as the law stays the way it is, they can get away with it.
You would benefit from the help of a criminal defense attorney. It seems like you did not have a criminal defense attorney prior to arraignment. That is a shame because they kept your case in felony division utilizing the third strike statute. A criminal defense lawyer may have persuaded them to bump the case down to a misdemeanor, attempt to restore your driving privileges while the case goes to court and then possibly get your case dismissed or changed to a different charge.
My best advice is to seek the help of a competent criminal defense attorney in your area as soon as possible.
If this answer helped you, please be so kind as to mark it "helpful" or "best answer". This would be greatly appreciated. Remember, this is not legal advice from Criminal Defense Lawyer Albert Quirantes, or the Ticket Law Center in Miami, Florida and there is no attorney client privilege created in this communication. Don't squeal on yourself by making admissions on this public website. Only ask theoretical questions of a general nature for your own protection.
I cant explain it any better then Mr. Quirantes. The main takeaway, is to hire a defense attorney in Tampa, because you need an attorney who knows the ins and outs of the HTO statute. I have seen in Hillsborough county, depending on who the judge is, that even if your on your third strike, and can get a valid license then it can be dropped down in a way that it wont count towards HTO. Start consulting with local attorneys. I have an office in tampa, so you can begin consulting local attorneys to resolve your case. When you have a serious legal issue such as yours, facing a felony, and mandatory license revocation, an investment in a private attorney will be priceless.
After accruing enough DWLS charges (meaning that after someone has demonstrated their continued intent to dismiss both the significance and seriousness of the system and the authority of the court and the DMV) folks are labeled HTO (habitual traffic offenders) and are treated as felons.
Its pretty plain and simple and a link to DMV's rules follows: http://www.flhsmv.gov/ddl/help.html
If you choose NOT to do the following 2 (simple) things: A) Do NOT drive until you are properly licensed and B) demonstrate respect for the authority of the Court, the DMV and the system in general (meaning, both A) above and getting properly licensed before getting behind the wheel of anything anywhere at anytime and for any reason) then you can expect to be treated as a felon and ultimately serve hard time.
This is 100% on you.
I hope that I have been helpful in answering your question.
First, second and third: No attorney-client relationship exists by virtue of any Q&A with Michael A. Haber, Esq. on Avvo. Fourth: Anything that you post on Avvo (or on similar sites) or on any social media is by its nature public. It is essentially an admission / confession and can be introduced into evidence as a statement against your interest in a subsequent legal proceeding. Once posted you lose any reasonable expectation of privacy, so, as this is an open forum (with no privilege attached), please be extra careful when considering what to post online (forewarned is forearmed.)
Years licensed, work experience, education
Peer endorsements, associations, awards
Publications, speaking engagements