A driver can become a habitual traffic offender (HTO) by accumulating too
many driving while license suspended charges.
Driving while a habitual traffic offender is a 3rd degree felony, punishable
by a maximum of 5 years in prison.
You can become a habitual traffic offender in the following ways:
3 DWLS/Knowingly charges with either guilty dispositions (adjudications)
or adjudication withheld.
2 DWLS/Knowingly charges with either guilty dipositions or adjudication
withheld, combined with 1 DWLS/Unknowingly charge with a guilty disposition.
1 DWLS/Knowingly charge with either a guilty disposition or adjudication
withheld, combined with 2 DWLS/Unknowingly charges with guilty dispositions.
3 DWLS/Unknowingly charges with guilty dispositions.
Remember - a DWLS/Unknowingly is a traffic infraction, not a crime. DWLS/Knowingly is a
The element of "knowledge" depends on whether the driver has
been informed of the suspension. You do not need to actually receive a
letter from the DHSMV. The State only needs proof that notice was sent.
If you are an HTO, your driver's license will be suspended for 5 years.
After 1 year of being an HTO, you may be able to get a hardship license
if you have no traffic offenses during that one-year period. A hardship
is for work and school purposes only.
In order to get a hardship, you must take an Advanced Driver Improvement
course and show proof of enrollment or completion to the DHSMV. You must
then schedule a hearing and show cause to the DHSMV as to why you need
a hardship. It is then up to them whether to issue a hardship license or not.
Driving while your license is suspended due to being an HTO is a serious
offense. Judges and prosecutors do not take kindly to these charges as
it shows that the accused has numerous driving while license suspended
I am a
Miami-Dade County criminal defense attorney who represents clients charged with HTO offenses in Miami-Dade and Broward.