Is driving a right or a privilege?
In the State of Florida, driving is considered a privilege and not a right. A person’s driving privilege can be suspended, canceled or revoked for a number of reasons that can include (but are not limited to) failing to pay a ticket, failing to pay child support, or failing to attend traffic school.
Who monitors my driving privilege?
In Florida, the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) is the agency that monitors a persons driving privilege among other services. The Agency has several offices throughout the State of Florida.
Can criminal charges and convictions impact my driving privilege?
Yes. Contact with the Criminal Justice system can impact an individuals driving privilege. In some instances, this impact may be temporary or short term. However, there are circumstances in which the impact may be permanent.
Can having a criminal conviction affect my privilege to drive?
Yes. The legislature has determined that if you are adjudicated guilty of certain crimes, the DHSMV MUST suspended your driver’s license. That means that if a person is adjudicated guilty of a crime because they were either found guilty by way of a trial or they accepted a plea agreement, their driving privilege MUST be suspended. Some examples of such offenses that carry mandatory drivers licenses suspensions, cancels or revocations include but are not limited to: Racing on a public street or highway and fleeing and alluding. If you are convicted of a racing offense or a fleeing and alluding offense the legislature has determined that your driving privilege MUST be suspended for at least a year.
Can my driving privilege be suspended if I am convicted of a crime that has nothing to do with driving?
Yes. If a person is adjudicated guilty of possession of drugs and charged under Chapter 893 of the Florida statutes their driving privilege MUST be suspended for a period of two years. Even a misdemeanor charge for possession of cannabis can suspend your driving privilege for two years. This is typically the case even if the offense has nothing to do with driving.
What is a Habitual Traffic Offender (HTO)?
A habitual traffic offender is a designation given to an individual who has been sentenced for repeatedly violating the traffic laws. For example, if you have been sentenced to at least three qualifying offenses within a five-year period an individuals driving privilege can be suspended, canceled or revoked for a period of five years or more. An example of these qualifying offenses includes driving while license suspended, driving under the influence or leaving the Scene of an accident. If my driving privilege is suspended, revoked or canceled will I be able to get it back? Maybe. Each case is different and must be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
If you are charged with a criminal offense that may impact your driving privilege you should consult with a criminal attorney. A criminal attorney can review your individual case and advise on the potential direct or collateral consequences so that you may be fully informed of what your options are.