Seminole County Habitual Traffic Offender Defense Lawyer

If you have been charged with driving with as a habitual traffic offender in Seminole County please contact Chris S. Boatright, P.A. at 407-740-8300 to discuss what options may be available to get your driving as a habitual traffic offender charge dismissed or reduced.  Driving as a habitual traffic offender can be a felony charge which can result in a 5 year prison sentence.  

Former Habitual Traffic Offender Prosecutor

As a former habitual traffic offender prosecutor Chris has an understanding of what can be important to the prosecutor in your Seminole County habitual traffic offender case.  It is important to understand how the other side works.  Chris uses this understanding to determine what needs to be done to get the best possible outcome in your habitual traffic offender case.  

Seminole County Habitual Traffic Offender Defense Lawyer Since 1999

Chris has been defending individuals in Seminole County charged with driving as a habitual traffic offender since 1999.  Being an Seminole County driving as a habitual traffic offender defense lawyer for so long has given Chris the opportunity to spend a lot of time working with the judges and prosecutors in Seminole County that handle driving as a habitual traffic offender cases like yours.  Experience dealing with those judges and prosecutors is important in achieving the best results in your driving as a habitual traffic offender case.  

Different Seminole County Driving as a Habitual Traffic Offender Defense Lawyers Get Different Results

When you have been charged with driving as a habitual traffic offender in Seminole County you need an aggressive, experienced, and knowledgeable lawyer like Chris to defend you.  A driving as a habitual traffic offender conviction will stay on your record forever, therefore, it is important to be represented by the right lawyer.  The better prepared you are for your court appearance the more likely it is you will get a favorable outcome.  The best results possible are rarely obtained by just hoping for them.  Get the help you need at Chris S. Boatright, P.A. to get the best results possible.  

Information About Seminole County Driving As A Habitual Traffic Offender Charges

A “habitual traffic offender” is any person whose record, as maintained by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, shows that such person has accumulated the specified number of convictions for offenses described in subsection (1) or subsection (2) within a 5-year period:

(1) Three or more convictions of any one or more of the following offenses arising out of separate acts:

(a) Voluntary or involuntary manslaughter resulting from the operation of a motor vehicle;

(b) Any violation of Florida Statute 316.193, former Florida Statute 316.1931, or former Florida Statute 860.01;

(c) Any felony in the commission of which a motor vehicle is used;

(d) Driving a motor vehicle while his or her license is suspended or revoked;

(e) Failing to stop and render aid as required under the laws of this state in the event of a motor vehicle crash resulting in the death or personal injury of another; or

(f) Driving a commercial motor vehicle while his or her privilege is disqualified.

(2) Fifteen convictions for moving traffic offenses for which points may be assessed as set forth in Florida Statute 322.27, including those offenses in subsection (1).

Any violation of any federal law, any law of another state or country, or any valid ordinance of a municipality or county of another state similar to a statutory prohibition specified in subsection (1) or subsection (2) shall be counted as a violation of such prohibition. In computing the number of convictions, all convictions during the 5 years previous to July 1, 1972, will be used, provided at least one conviction occurs after that date. The fact that previous convictions may have resulted in suspension, revocation, or disqualification under another section does not exempt them from being used for suspension or revocation under this section as a habitual offender.

Any person whose driver license has been revoked pursuant to Florida Statute 322.264 (habitual offender) and who drives any motor vehicle upon the highways of this state while such license is revoked is guilty of a third-degree felony punishable by a maximum of 5 years in prison and/or 5 years probation and/or a $5,000 fine.  However, if a person does not have a prior forceable felony conviction as defined in Florida Statute 776.08 and the person is designated a habitual traffic offender under Florida Statute 322.264(1)(d) as a result of suspensions of his or her driver license or driver privelege for: 

1. Failing to pay child support as provided in s. 322.245 or s. 61.13016;

2. Failing to pay any other financial obligation as provided in s. 322.245 other than those specified in s. 322.245(1);

3. Failing to comply with a civil penalty required in s. 318.15;

4. Failing to maintain vehicular financial responsibility as required by chapter 324;

5. Failing to comply with attendance or other requirements for minors as set forth in s.322.091 

or

6. Having been designated a habitual traffic offender under s. 322.264(1)(d) as a result of suspensions of his or her driver license or driver privilege for any underlying violation listed in subparagraphs 1.-5.

Then upon a first conviction for driving as a habitual traffic offender a person commits a misdemeanor of the second degree punishable by a maximum of 60 days in jail and/or 6 months probation and/or a $500 fine.  Upon a second or subsequent conviction for driving as a habitual traffic offender a person commits a misdemeanor of the first degree punishable by a maximum of 1 year in jail and/or 1 year on probation and/or a $1,000 fine.

Habitual Traffic Offender Definitions

“Drive” means to operate or be in actual physical control of a motor vehicle in any place open to the general public for purposes of vehicular traffic.

"Actual physical control" of a vehicle means the defendant must be physically in or on the vehicle and have the capability to operate the vehicle, regardless of whether they are actually operating the vehicle at the time.

“Motor vehicle” means any vehicle which is self-propelled, including a “moped,” but not any vehicle moved solely by human power, motorized wheelchair or motorized bicycle.

“Street or Highway” means the entire width between the boundary lines of every way or place if any part thereof is open to the use of the public for purposes of vehicular traffic.

“Suspended” means the privilege to drive a motor vehicle has been temporarily withdrawn.

“Notice” means personal delivery or deposit in the United States mail, first class, postage prepaid, addressed to the defendant at [his] [her] last known address furnished to the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.  Mailing by the department shall constitute notification.

KNOWLEDGE

The State is not required to prove that a person knew their license was revoked as a habitual traffic offender.  

NOTICE

The prosecutor does not have to prove that the person arrested for driving as a habitual traffic offender knew their driver license was revoked for being a habitual traffic offender to obtain a conviction.  To convict a person for driving as a habitual traffic offender the prosecutor must prove that notice was provided to the arrested person of the habitual traffic offender revocation.  “Notice” means personal delivery or deposit in the United States mail, first class, postage prepaid, addressed to the defendant at [his] [her] last known address furnished to the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.  Mailing by the department shall constitute notification.

HARDSHIP LICENSE ELIGIBILITY FOR HABITUAL TRAFFIC OFFENDERS

A person whose driving privilege has been revoked for five years for being a habitual traffic offender may, upon expiration of 12 months from the date of such revocation, petition the department for reinstatement of his or her driving privilege. Upon such petition and after investigation of the person’s qualification, fitness, and need to drive, the department shall hold a hearing to determine whether the driving privilege shall be reinstated on a restricted basis solely for business or employment purposes.

A driving privilege restricted to "business purposes only” means a driving privilege that is limited to any driving necessary to maintain livelihood, including driving to and from work, necessary on-the-job driving, driving for educational purposes, and driving for church and for medical purposes.

A driving privilege restricted to "employment purposes only” means a driving privilege that is limited to driving to and from work and any necessary on-the-job driving required by an employer or occupation.

Florida Advanced Driver Improvement School completion is required if all the convictions used for the habitual traffic offender revocation are not alcohol related. DUI School completion is required if at least one of the convictions used for the habitual traffic offender revocation is a DUI.  

IMPOUNDMENT OF MOTOR VEHICLE 

Upon the arrest of a person for the offense of driving while the person’s driver license or driving privilege is suspended or revoked, the arresting officer shall determine:

1. Whether the person’s driver license is suspended or revoked.

2. Whether the person’s driver license has remained suspended or revoked since a conviction for the offense of driving with a suspended or revoked license.

3. Whether the suspension or revocation was made under Florida Statute 316.646 or Florida Statute 627.733, relating to failure to maintain required security, or under Florida Statute 322.264, relating to habitual traffic offenders.

4. Whether the driver is the registered owner or coowner of the vehicle.

(b) If the arresting officer finds in the affirmative as to all of the criteria in paragraph (a), the officer shall immediately impound or immobilize the vehicle.

(c) Within 7 business days after the date the arresting agency impounds or immobilizes the vehicle, either the arresting agency or the towing service, whichever is in possession of the vehicle, shall send notice by certified mail to any coregistered owners of the vehicle other than the person arrested and to each person of record claiming a lien against the vehicle. All costs and fees for the impoundment or immobilization, including the cost of notification, must be paid by the owner of the vehicle or, if the vehicle is leased, by the person leasing the vehicle.

(d) Either the arresting agency or the towing service, whichever is in possession of the vehicle, shall determine whether any vehicle impounded or immobilized under this section has been leased or rented or if there are any persons of record with a lien upon the vehicle. Either the arresting agency or the towing service, whichever is in possession of the vehicle, shall notify by express courier service with receipt or certified mail within 7 business days after the date of the immobilization or impoundment of the vehicle, the registered owner and all persons having a recorded lien against the vehicle that the vehicle has been impounded or immobilized. A lessor, rental car company, or lienholder may then obtain the vehicle, upon payment of any lawful towing or storage charges. If the vehicle is a rental vehicle subject to a written contract, the charges may be separately charged to the renter, in addition to the rental rate, along with other separate fees, charges, and recoupments disclosed on the rental agreement. If the storage facility fails to provide timely notice to a lessor, rental car company, or lienholder as required by this paragraph, the storage facility shall be responsible for payment of any towing or storage charges necessary to release the vehicle to a lessor, rental car company, or lienholder that accrue after the notice period, which charges may then be assessed against the driver of the vehicle if the vehicle was lawfully impounded or immobilized.

(e) Except as provided in paragraph (d), the vehicle shall remain impounded or immobilized for any period imposed by the court until:

1. The owner presents proof of insurance to the arresting agency; or

2. The owner presents proof of sale of the vehicle to the arresting agency and the buyer presents proof of insurance to the arresting agency.

If proof is not presented within 35 days after the impoundment or immobilization, a lien shall be placed upon such vehicle pursuant to Florida Statute 713.78.

(f) The owner of a vehicle that is impounded or immobilized under this subsection may, within 10 days after the date the owner has knowledge of the location of the vehicle, file a complaint in the county in which the owner resides to determine whether the vehicle was wrongfully taken or withheld. Upon the filing of a complaint, the owner or lienholder may have the vehicle released by posting with the court a bond or other adequate security equal to the amount of the costs and fees for impoundment or immobilization, including towing or storage, to ensure the payment of such costs and fees if the owner or lienholder does not prevail. When the vehicle owner or lienholder does not prevail on a complaint that the vehicle was wrongfully taken or withheld, he or she must pay the accrued charges for the immobilization or impoundment, including any towing and storage charges assessed against the vehicle. When the bond is posted and the fee is paid as set forth in Florida Statute 28.24, the clerk of the court shall issue a certificate releasing the vehicle. At the time of release, after reasonable inspection, the owner must give a receipt to the towing or storage company indicating any loss or damage to the vehicle or to the contents of the vehicle.

Evidence

In order for the State of Florida to prove you committed the crime of driving as a habitual traffic offender, the State need’s evidence.  Normally, the law enforcement officer’s report contains a statement of the evidence against you.  However, there may be other evidence in your case which the law enforcement officer failed to document in the report.  Necessary evidence in your case may have been illegally obtained and therefore inadmissable.  It is essential for you and your attorney to review all of the evidence in your case before preparing your defense.

Constitutional Rights

The United States Constitution and the Florida Constitution both contain protections for the people.  One protection is against unreasonable searches and seizures.  A traffic stop may constitute a seizure.  An unlawful traffic stop may cause evidence in your case to be inadmissible which may cause the dismissal of your charge.  Another protection is against incriminating statements.  The failure of law enforcement officer to read your Miranda rights prior to statements by you may cause those incriminating statements to be inadmissible which may cause the dismissal of your charge.

Seminole County Driving As A Habitual Traffic Offender Penalties

A conviction for driving as a habitual traffic offender can result in many different penalties.  It is important for you to know what penalties you may be facing.  Some of the penalties for driving as a habitual traffic offender conviction may include:

  • Time in Jail or Prison
  • Probation
  • Community Service
  • Classes
  • Extended Loss of Driving Privileges
  • Fines
  • Cost of Investigation
  • Cost of Prosecution
  • Court Costs
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