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What is a HTO (habitual traffic offender)?

A "habitual traffic offender" is any person who accumulates three or more convictions of any of the following offenses within a five-year period:

  • Voluntary or involuntary manslaughter resulting from the operation of a motor vehicle

  • Driving under the influence

  • A felony in the commission of which a motor vehicle is used

  • Driving a motor vehicle while his or her license is suspended or revoked

  • Failing to stop and render aid in the event of a motor vehicle crash resulting in the death or personal injury of another

  • Driving a commercial motor vehicle while his or her privilege is disqualified.


The most common reason that people HTO is due to receiving three DWLS convictions over a five-year period or one DUI and two DWLS convictions.


Often people will not hire an attorney when they are first charged with DWLS because the state will make a low offer (usually time served and a small fine) and they do not think it is in their best financial interest to hire.


In reality, it usually is in their best interest to hire an attorney because an attorney may be able to "beat" the DWLS, thus preventing them from receiving a "strike" for HTO purposes.


What happens if I am HTO'd?

If you receive a designation as a habitual traffic offender the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles will revoke your license for a period of five years. You may be eligible to obtain a business purpose license (BPO) after a period of 12 months.

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