Can I Reinstate My Drivers License as a Habitual Traffic Offender in Florida?
If your drivers license has been suspended as a habitual traffic offender in Jacksonville, you are probably wondering if you can reinstate your drivers license. The answer to this question is maybe. A Jacksonville drivers license attorney may be able to help you obtain a valid drivers license, but this will depend on your driving record and other factors. If you receive a letter stating that your license is going to be suspended as a Florida habitual traffic offender, speak to a Jacksonville drivers license lawyer immediately. Call 20 Miles Law at (904) 564-2525 to talk to a Jacksonville attorney. What if the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV or DMV) has already suspended your drivers license? Your lawyer may still be able to reinstate your drivers license. The worse thing that you can do is to continue to drive while your license is suspended as a habitual traffic offender. If you are a Florida habitual traffic offender, you probably already know that your may be charge with a misdemeanor if you are cited for driving on a suspended license in Jacksonville. You may not know that if you are caught driving as a habitual traffic offender, you may be arrested for a felony. As a Jacksonville criminal lawyer, I have met people that have been adjudicated guilty for driving while having a habitual traffic offender drivers license suspension in Florida. This is a shame, because otherwise law-abiding citizens become convicted felons due to their driving record. Needless to say, it is important to reinstate your drivers license before getting behind the wheel.
Do I Need to Reinstate My Florida Drivers License After 5 Years?
If you are a Florida habitual traffic offender, your license has been suspended for five years. Most people cannot have their license suspended for 5 years. They need to work and take care of their families. In some cases, people do make it through the 5-years drivers license suspension. When this happens, does the DMV automatically give you a valid drivers license? No. You still need to go to the DMV to reinstate your license. You want to make sure everything is in order before you begin driving again.
There are Florida criminal cases that show that you can still be arrested and convicted of felony driving on a suspended license as a habitual traffic offender even after the 5-year suspension period. An example is Blandin v. State, an appellate case out of the Second District Court of Appeals in Florida. The facts of Blandin are as follows:
“After being stopped for speeding in November 2004, Blandin was charged with driving while license revoked as a habitual traffic offender pursuant to section 322.34(5), Florida Statutes (2004). Blandin entered an open plea to the charge and an admission to a violation of probation in another case based on the same conduct. In his rule 3.850 motion, Blandin argued that trial counsel was ineffective for allowing him to enter a plea to the charge of driving while license revoked and an admission to a violation of probation based on the same conduct. Blandin asserted that his license was revoked in August 1992, and his five-year revocation period expired in August 1997. Blandin claimed he could not be convicted for driving while license revoked in 2004 because his revocation period had expired seven years earlier.”
Florida Statute Section 322.34(5) states, “Any person whose driver’s license has been revoked pursuant to s. 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 felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.” Florida Statute Section 322.27 goes a step further. This law states, “The department shall revoke the license of any person designated a habitual offender, as set forth in s. 322.264, and such person shall not be eligible to be relicensed for a minimum of 5 years from the date of revocation, except as provided for in s. 322.271. Any person whose license is revoked may, by petition to the department, show cause why his or her license should not be revoked.”
The Florida appellate court explained that a habitual traffic offender’s license is not automatically reinstated after 5 years. The court used Section 322.27(5) to explain how this applied to the defendant:
“Under section 322.27(5), when Blandin’s license was revoked as a habitual traffic offender in August 1992, it was revoked ‘for a minimum of 5 years.’ After five years, Blandin was eligible to be relicensed, but relicensing was not automatic. Because Blandin never petitioned to be relicensed, the Department never investigated his qualification and fitness to drive or held an administrative hearing to determine whether to restore Blandin’s driving privileges. Thus, Blandin’s license remains ‘revoked’ under section 322.34(5), and his conviction for driving while licensed revoked and admission to a violation of probation based on that conduct was proper.” Blandin v. State, 976 So. 2d 1201, 1202-04 (Fla. 2d DCA 2008)
The Second District Court of Appeals is not the only Florida court to address the issue as to whether or not a habitual traffic offender must have his drivers license reinstated before driving a motor vehicle. The Third District Court of Appeals ruled on the same issue almost a decade before the Blandin court. In State v. Green, 747 So.2d 1007, the defendant was also sentenced as a habitual traffic offender in Florida. In Green’s case, he was driving on a suspended license “over three years after the statutory revocation period expired.” The Florida appeals court held “that the defendant’s license remained revoked because he never took affirmative steps to have it reinstated…. While the defendant was eligible to have his license restored, he was required to petition the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles and subject himself to an investigation into his fitness to drive in order to do so. The court held that until the defendant took such affirmative steps, his license remained revoked.”