You've just received that dreaded letter from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. It says that in about three to four weeks, your license will be revoked for a period of five years because you have been designated a Habitual Traffic Offender, or HTO.
And I'm willing to bet that a few weeks ago, you went ahead and paid some traffic tickets online.
Am I right?
So the first thing you did upon receiving the letter is you went on Google to seek answers to your understandably panicked questions.
All right. Take it easy. I think I can help you.
If you have just paid some tickets online, you may have unknowingly made yourself an HTO. This is because when you pay a traffic ticket online or in person instead of setting the ticket for court, you are automatically convicted of that offense. Points may be assessed and if the offense you pleaded guilty to is Driving While License Suspended Without Knowledge, a conviction for that charge will count as a predicate offense toward an HTO designation.
Three predicate offenses in a five-year period and you will become an HTO. This means that your license is revoked for five years. You will not be eligible for a hardship or business-purposes license for at least twelve months. And if you get caught driving on an HTO suspension/revocation, you are charged with a felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison.
Okay...hold up. Don't stop reading. I do have good news.
If you pleaded guilty to criminal offenses, you cannot do that online or without going to court. And a judge will almost always advise you that by pleading guilty you could become a Habitual Traffic Offender. Criminal charges that can make you an HTO include DUI and Driving While License Suspended With Knowledge (DWLS).
But in your case you paid some non-criminal tickets online. Well, if that is your situation and you paid the tickets within the past sixty days, I may be able to fix this for you.
The Florida Rules of Traffic Court permit a hearing officer to reduce a sentence - even if a legal sentence - within 60 days of its imposition. You just need an attorney to file the right motion to get it done.
If you are a driver in the State of Florida who is dealing with a possible HTO revocation, give me a call and let's see if we can fix this problem.