HTO Status can be Overturned in 2019
If you are currently without a license due to being a Habitual Traffic Offender, a modification to laws governing license revocation took effect at the beginning of this year that might affect you. The Florida Supreme Court amended the Florida Rules of Traffic Court, and the result has created easier opportunities for the removal of habitual offender status (HTO). For many Orlando residents with an HTO status, this is excellent news. Relying on Florida’s public transportation network to get around town is not ideal for working professionals who’ve lost their license.
What is a Habitual Traffic Offender?
Any person who has earned three or more strikes of certain traffic offenses receive a Habitual Traffic Offender status according to Florida Statute 322.264. Driving under suspension is another typical reason that an HTO status gets issued against a driver. Just three convictions of this offense and you receive a license revocation that lasts five years. It doesn’t matter if you were aware of your suspension or not; you will lose your license.
Additionally, if you are guilty of fifteen or more moving traffic violations, and these occurrences incur points on your license, you may get labeled as an HTO. These offenses may include:
- Reckless Driving
- Leaving the scene of a crash
- Careless driving
- Passing on entering or exit while a bus is stopped
- Failing to stop for a school bus
- Not yielding the right-of-way to pedestrians
- Improper backing
- Failing to yield
- Not using a child safety seat or appropriate restraints for a child in the car
- Any points from out-of-state tickets will earn you points if also an offense in Florida
Challenging Your Orlando HTO
The new Florida Traffic Court Rule Correction and Reduction of Penalty changes allow for flexibility that wasn’t previously available to offenders. Before the January 1, 2019 amendment, one could only seek a reduction in penalty within 60 days. The laws did not allow for leniency and made it extremely difficult for a defendant to find an attorney and meet that deadline for reduction request.
The Florida Supreme Court simplified some of the traffic court’s processes and infused flexibility into the statute so that:
- An official could correct a penalty made in error at any time.
- An official may reduce a legal penalty.
- Permits for an offender to seek a reduction within 60 days of the revocation being in effect or anytime afterward with good cause.
These adjustments now make it possible for someone to fight a civil Driving on Suspended License charge under the defense of not knowing about their status of driving under suspension. Not only can one challenge it after the 60-day limit with a detailed explanation for consideration, but reduced penalties are also possible. Once the court overturns the conviction and changes your sentence, the DMV will receive notification of the changes and remove your HTO designation.
Hire an Experienced Orlando Traffic Attorney
If you have received notice that your license has been revoked and you are a Habitual Traffic Offender, contact a traffic attorney as soon as possible. While the new modifications allow for pursuing reductions in penalties after the 60-day mark from imposition, the sooner you address the issue, the better. An experienced traffic lawyer will know how to not only pursue removal of HTO status but if that is not possible, he or she may be able to reduce your sentence.
The Umansky Law Office works hard to minimize the damage to your driving record that an HTO status causes. We understand that everyone deserves a second chance, and our team of seasoned lawyers fight hard to get you that opportunity. Contact us today to discuss your HTO status further and learn how we can get you back on the road legally.