Tag Archives: dui tampa

HTO: What It Really Means to You

A common mistake when receiving a ticket from a police officer is to pay the ticket. Paying the ticket is an admission of guilt, and often can compound issues if the driver has additional moving violations in a five year period, or commits a crime while operating a motor vehicle. Additionally, paying the moving violation can result in points, or convictions accumulating in your driving record.

Florida Statute 322.264 states that a habitual traffic offender is any driver that pleads guilty to any of these three listed below within a 5-year period, arising out of separate acts:

1. Voluntary or involuntary manslaughter resulting from the operation of a motor vehicle;

2. DUI offense of any kind, drugs or alcohol;

3. A felony in the commission of which a motor vehicle is used;

4. Driving while license is suspended or revoked (DWLSR);

5. Driving a commercial vehicle without a commercial driver’s license (CDL)

6. 15 convictions of moving violations in which points have been assessed within 5 years;

Very easily, a driver can accumulate three convictions for DWLSR within a five year period.

Here is a good example. A driver receives their first ticket for DWLSR without knowledge, then the ticket is paid without any dispute, as instructed on the ticket. The second and third DWLSR the driver also pleads guilty, because the driver is not advised of his rights, and they are scared because one had became a criminal offense. When this occurs within five years, the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles will suspend the driver as an HTO. This suspends driver’s license 5 years, possibly upgrading the future charges allowing the state to sentence the driver to jail or prison time.

Give us a call at Thomas Law, P.A. with any of your driving questions. We can help with the HTO process and possibly reverse previous convictions so that you can get your driving license back.

Lengthy Consequences For Multiple DUI Offenders

Offenders with multiple DUI’s will encounter issues when trying to relocate to another state and get a driver’s license. Even with good reason—moving for a job, family member, etc., Florida requires that you satisfy the suspension in Florida before getting licensed in another state. This will especially affect those with a 5-year driver’s license revocation, 10-year, or a life-time revocation.

The national driver’s registry is a country-wide database, sharing information with each state about the status of your driver’s license. When trying to get licensed in a state other than Florida, the new state will check this database and find the Florida suspension, and not allow you to be licensed in the new state until the Florida suspension is satisfied.

To comply with Florida’s requirements during the suspension period, Florida requires registration in the special supervision program, completing DUI school, and whatever drug or alcohol treatment the DUI Supervisory office requests. Some of these requirements will have to be met previously, as they are required by the courts. Additionally, drivers must install a breathalyzer into your vehicle for the DHSMV mandated period. For those with a second DUI the period is 1-2 years depending on the blood alcohol level. For third DUI the period is a minimum of 2 years. Fourth DUI, or subsequent offenses is a minimum of 5 years. Drivers must visit the Interlock device’s vendor monthly, there are five to choose from. Every month the driver pays the vendor to service the device and record the pertinent information recorded by the device.

In Hillsborough or Pinellas County, the DUI program and Special Supervision Program is managed by DUI Counterattack or Suncoast Safety Council. During enrollment in the statewide special supervision program, offenders are first evaluated, then must visit a supervision officer once a month for an interview, pay a supervision fee, and take a random drug/alcohol test. The monthly interviews continue for the remainder of the suspension period (5 years, 10 years, or lifetime). The offender will have to remain in Florida for that period to keep licensing, or travel from out of state once a month to visit the special supervision officer for the remainder of the period.

For questions about multiple DUI offenses, or any other Florida DUI questions, please contact Jenny Thomas at Thomas Law, P.A. We are a boutique law firm focused on working hard to achieve the best outcome for our clients.

DUI Refusal Law Proposes Harsher Penalties

A new bill proposes tougher penalties and tougher decisions for drivers.

Under current law, drivers face a one year license suspension after refusing a breathalyzer or urine test when stopped for a suspected DUI offense. Florida’s implied consent law states all drivers must submit to a breathalyzer or urine test if the officer has probable cause to make a DUI arrest. Every Florida driver gives this implied consent when they hold a Florida driver’s license. This implied consent law allows officers to ticket drivers with a refusal, because they have already given this consent when they obtained their Florida license. For a second or any subsequent refusal, a driver will be suspended for 18 months and face possible jail time for the misdemeanor offense.

With current laws in place, WFTV Eyewitness news finds that four out of every ten drivers that are stopped, do refuse a breathalyzer or urine test.

These penalties may increase in years to come if Sen. David Simmons’ bill passes.  In 2015, Sen. Simmons, R-Altamonte Springs, filed the bill that will propose fines of $500-1000, six months of probation, and additional four points being assessed on the driver license, for the refusal.

If the same driver refuses a second time, the bill rules the second refusal a criminal misdemeanor offense and makes the crime not eligible for judicial alteration or reduction in court.

There is one important caveat to Florida’s implied consent law. In 2011, the Florida Supreme Court held that a person’s driver’s license could not be suspended for refusing to take a Breathalyzer or test if the DUI arrest was unlawful. This mean if you were stopped without reasonable suspicion, or if your arrest was made without probable cause, then your refusal to blow cannot be used against you to deny your driving privileges.

Our team at Thomas Law is ready to start aggressively pursuing a reduction or dismissal on your behalf. Contact us today to learn more about how we can defend you.