Driving While License Suspended/Revoked with Knowledge
A person can lose their license for numerous reasons, and three convictions for the criminal charge of Driving While License Suspended With Knowledge in a five-year period will result in a person becoming a Habitualized Driving Offender. A withhold of adjudication for a criminal charge of Driving While License Suspended With Knowledge counts as a conviction. And when counting the five-year period it starts from conviction date for the first Driving While License Suspended With Knowledge to the offense dates of the other two cases to avoid a person continuing a case to get outside the five-year period.
A conviction for a Driving While License Suspended Without Knowledge though a civil infraction counts as one of the qualifying offenses for Habitual Offender Purposes. However, a withhold of Adjudication does not qualify which means a person issued a citation for Driving While License Suspended Without Knowledge SHOULD NOT JUST PAY THE FINE, BUT SHOULD EITHER TAKE THE CLASS OR REQUEST A HEARING.
HABITUAL TRAFFIC OFFENDER
322.264 “Habitual traffic offender” defined.—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;
(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 s. 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.
AMNESTY FOR HABITUAL TRAFFIC OFFENDERS
322.331 Habitual traffic offenders; restoration of license.—
(1) At the expiration of 5 years from the date of license revocation, a person whose license has been revoked under s. 322.27(5) may petition the department for restoration of driving privileges. Upon such petition and after investigation of the person’s qualification and fitness to drive, the depart- ment shall hold an administrative hearing to determine whether driving privileges shall be restored either on an unrestricted basis or on a restricted basis solely for business or employment purposes.
(2) If a person whose license has been revoked under s. 322.27(5) as a result of a third violation of driving a motor vehicle while his or her license is suspended or revoked which occurred prior to July 1, 2010, provides proof of compliance as allowed by s. 318.14(10)(a) prior to July 1, 2011, the clerk of court shall submit an amended disposition to remove the habitual traffic offender designation.
Section 4. Subsection (11) is added to section 322.34, Florida Statutes, to read:
322.34 Driving while license suspended, revoked, canceled, or disquali- fied.—
(10)(a) Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, if a person does not have a prior forcible felony conviction as defined in s. 776.08, the penalties provided in paragraph (b) apply if a person’s driver’s license or driving privilege is canceled, suspended, or revoked 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’s license or driver privilege for any underlying violation listed in subparagraphs 1.-5.
(b)1. Upon a first conviction for knowingly driving while his or her license is suspended, revoked, or canceled for any of the underlying violations listed in subparagraphs (a)1.-6., a person commits a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
2. Upon a second or subsequent conviction for the same offense of knowingly driving while his or her license is suspended, revoked, or canceled for any of the underlying violations listed in subparagraphs (a)1.-6., a person commits a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
(11)(a) Any person who does not hold a commercial driver’s license and who is cited for an offense of knowingly driving while his or her license is suspended, revoked, or canceled for any of the underlying violations listed in paragraph (10)(a) may, in lieu of payment of fine or court appearance, elect to enter a plea of nolo contendere and provide proof of compliance to the clerk of the court, designated official, or authorized operator of a traffic violations bureau. In such case, adjudication shall be withheld; however, no election shall be made under this subsection if such person has made an election under this subsection in the preceding 12 months. No person may make more than three elections under this subsection.
(b) If adjudication is withheld under paragraph (a), such action is not a conviction.
Section 5. This act shall take effect October 1, 2010. Approved by the Governor May 26, 2010. Filed in Office Secretary of State May 26, 2010.