car license platesSometimes the best illustration of how to handle Florida traffic tickets or violations is to see examples of how previous cases have been handled.  Some Florida cases involving traffic tickets are good examples of why it is important to hire a Florida attorney as soon as you get the ticket to help walk you through the process. One common question is what happens to the suspension of my Florida license if I move to another state.  In one case, a man’s license was revoked after his fourth DUI conviction.  At the time, his understanding was that he would be eligible for a hardship license after 10 years.  Within that 10-year period, he moved to Maryland and applied for a Maryland driver’s license.  He was informed that he would have to complete a driving course in Florida before Maryland could issue him a license.  He completed the course and received a Maryland license.  At the time, he did not apply for a hardship license in Florida and was not told by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (Department) that he needed to do so.

A few years later, the man moved to Pennsylvania and applied for a license there.  He was told that he would have to correct his record regarding Florida traffic tickets and violations before it could be issued.  When he contacted the Department he was told that his license in Florida had been permanently revoked.  Even after a hearing, he was denied a hardship license.

The man then appealed to the Circuit Court of Pinellas County for reinstatement, claiming that, because the Department did not inform him of the need to apply for a hardship license, he was denied his rights to due process and equal protection.  He cited the law that had been in effect when his license was originally revoked that allowed him to petition for reinstatement of his license after 10 years.

But at the time he applied for his Maryland license, the law regarding Florida traffic tickets and violations had been changed to a deadline of five years.  And, by the time he had moved to Pennsylvania, the law had changed yet again, becoming more strict and not allowing a hardship license at all after 4 DUI convictions.  In addition, he was told that the license he received in Maryland was invalid because he had not applied for a hardship license before applying for it, and his license had been re-suspended in Florida for “obtaining a license by fraud” in Maryland.

The Court denied the man’s appeal, putting the burden on him to keep up with any change in the laws regarding Florida traffic tickets and violations that might affect his ability to reinstate his driving privilege.  Basically, it is not the law in effect when the original revocation occurred, but the law at the time of applying for the hardship license or reinstatement. In this case, the fact that the man did not know the law in Florida regarding traffic tickets and violations, even though he had lived in two other states since the original revocation, led to his inability to get a driver’s license, even in another state, and even though he complied with the requirements in Maryland.

Any case involving multiple DUIs can be complicated, but moving to another state afterwards can further complicate the situation.  With the advice of a Florida attorney, either at the time of the revocation of his license, or even after he moved to another state, the permanent revocation of his driving privilege could possibly have been avoided. A Florida attorney would know of the changes regarding Florida traffic tickets and violations laws and be able to keep his or her client informed of the need to act immediately or suffer life-long consequences.  Even if you continue to reside in Florida, you may not be aware of the changes in the laws or the impact on your particular situation.  Having an experienced attorney in any DUI situation or any charge regarding Florida traffic tickets or violations may be critical to defending your rights.

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