Written by attorney Guichard St. Surin

Driving While License Suspended or Revoked (DWLSR); Habitual Traffic Offender

There are multiple ways to get your driver’s license suspended, but there is one result that carries a severe punishment for Florida drivers. This is the dreaded “HTO" status, or being labled a Habitual Traffic Offender. One of the ways a person can become a Habitual Traffic Offender, is with the “Three in Five" rule. With this rule, if a person is convicted of three (3) specifc crimes within a five year period, then his or her license may be suspended for five years. This list of specific crimes can be found within Florida Statutes:

a) Voluntary or involuntary manslaughter resulting from the operation of a motor vehicle; (b) Any violation of s. 316.193, former s. 316.1931, or former s. 860.01; (c) Any felony in the commission of which a motor vehicle is used; (d) Driving a motor vehicle while his or her license is suspended or revoked; (e) Failing to stop and render aid as required under the laws of this state in the event of a motor vehicle crash resulting in the death or personal injury of another.

Section 322.264, Florida Statutes (2011).

So, for example, let’s take John Doe. Mr. Doe is convicted of a DUI in January 2013. Then, because of the DUI, Mr. Doe’s license is suspended. Mr. Doe has a job and must work to make a living, so he continues to drive to work. Mr. Doe, over the next year, is stopped, ticketed, and convicted of Driving While License Suspended or Revoked, on two seperate occassions. Now, Mr. Doe has three (3) qualifying convictions under Florida Statute Section 322.264, and can be labeled a Habitual Traffic Offender.

Now that Mr. Doe is labeled a Habitual Traffic Offender, the consequences of him driving are now even more severe. If Mr. Doe is caught driving while a Habitual Traffic Offender, he can then be charged with a third degree felony under Florida Statute Section 322.34(5). This means that Mr. Doe can face a penalty of up to five (5) years in prison.

The moral of the story? Make sure to keep track of the validity of your driver’s license, and always make sure your license is valid before driving.

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