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How A Driver Becomes a Habitual Traffic Offender (HTO)

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 misdemeanor.
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 convictions.
I am a Miami-Dade County criminal defense attorney who represents clients charged with HTO offenses in Miami-Dade and Broward.
Call today to discuss your case.
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