Florida Habitual Offender Law
Posted on October 5, 2010 in: Criminal Defense
Under Florida’s habitual traffic offender law, if you receive a certain number of traffic violations, the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles will label you a “habitual traffic offender.” If you are labeled a habitual traffic offender in Florida, the law mandates that your driving privileges be revoked for at least 5 years.
A habitual traffic offender in Florida should get the help of an experienced Miami traffic defense lawyer. A Miami traffic defense lawyer may be able to prevent your driver’s license from being revoked.
What qualifies someone as a habitual traffic offender in Florida?
To qualify as a habitual traffic offender in Florida, you must be convicted of at least 3 serious traffic offenses, or 15 moving violations for which you have been assessed points on your driving record over a period of 5 years. The traffic offenses that you must be convicted of include:
- vehicular manslaughter, either voluntary or involuntary;
- any felonies involving a motor vehicle;
- driving on a suspended or revoked license; and
- driving a motor vehicle after your driving privileges were disqualified.
Some of the moving violations that can qualify you as a habitual traffic offender in Florida include:
- failing to stop at a traffic light or stop sign;
- reckless driving;
- leaving an accident scene; and
- making an illegal turn.
Furthermore, if you have been convicted of an out-of-state traffic offense, or received an out-of-state moving violation, they will count toward your qualification as a habitual traffic offender in Florida.
Challenging Your Driver’s License Revocation
Once you are labeled a habitual traffic offender in Florida, the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles will send you a letter to notify you that your driver’s license has been revoked. When you receive this letter, you can challenge the fact that you have been labeled a habitual traffic offender in Florida. To do so, you will have to show why your license should not be revoked.
An experienced Miami traffic defense attorney can advise you on ways to challenge the revocation of your driver’s license.
However, if you choose not to challenge the revocation, then 1 year after the revocation takes effect you will have the right to reinstate your license. To do so, you will have to petition the Department for reinstatement. If your petition is approved, you will not receive a full reinstatement. You will receive reinstatement for only business or work purposes.
To have your license reinstated early, you will have to show that the revocation has caused a “serious hardship” on your ability to financially support yourself and/or your family.
Reinstating Your License After the 5-Year Period
If you serve the duration of your license revocation after being labeled a habitual traffic offender in Florida, after the 5-year period you would have to petition the department for the reinstatement of your license. This reinstatement will not happen automatically. Therefore, if you fail to petition for reinstatement, and you are caught driving, you will face a third-degree felony.
When you petition the department for reinstatement, they will schedule a hearing to decide whether to reinstate your license without restrictions. However, they may limit the amount of time that you will be permitted to drive.
If you have questions regarding the reinstatement of your license after being labeled a habitual traffic offender in Florida, or if you need help with reinstatement, you can get the help of a Miami traffic defense attorney.
Contacting a Miami Traffic Defense Lawyer
If you are facing traffic charges in South Florida, your legal team is your best defense. Contact the Miami traffic defense lawyer team at Falk & Ross to discuss your case – (877) 663-5110
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