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Criminal Traffic Offenses

An individual that has been charged with a traffic offense in the Florida Panhandle may not realize they could be charged with serious penalties and repercussions for even the slightest traffic citation or moving violation without the assistance of an experienced criminal defense lawyer. Florida law provides for a driving point system, which can ultimately cause a driver to have their driver’s license suspended or revoked for even a speeding ticket. Additionally, offenses such as vehicular homicide, driving with a suspended license, or hit and run can result in jail or prison sentences and/or steep fines.

In order to avoid points or to have the charges against you reduced or even dismissed, it is essential to contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer in the Florida Panhandle. The state prosecutor must prove you committed every element of your alleged traffic offense beyond a reasonable doubt. This is a very difficult burden to meet and if the judge or jury has any doubt in the prosecutor’s case, the charges against you may be reduced or even dismissed.   

Destin Traffic Crimes Lawyer

Contact Adkinson Law Firm, LLC for a consultation about your alleged traffic offense throughout the Florida Panhandle, including the areas of Crestview, South Walton, Fort Walton Beach, Milton, Navarre, DeFuniak Springs, Pensacola and Panama City. The attorneys of Adkinson Law Firm, LLC are knowledgeable in all areas of Florida’s driving laws and will make every effort to help you avoid the most serious penalties and repercussions to your alleged offense. Contact Adkinson Law Firm, LLC for a free consultation today at if you have been charged with a traffic crime throughout Destin and South Walton.


Destin Criminal Traffic Offense Information Center


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Florida’s Driving Point System

Florida assigns points to every driver’s record if they are charged with certain traffic offenses or if they admit guilt to a traffic offense by paying a fine associated with the traffic citation.  However, if a traffic ticket is dismissed, the alleged offender will not receive any points on their driving record. The driving point system assigns more points to more serious offenses and fewer points for less serious violations. If a driver reaches the maximum number of points for a given period of time, their driver’s license can be suspended or revoked. The

Under Fla. Stat. § 322.27(3), the points for certain traffic offenses are as follows:

  • Child restraint violations – 3 points;
  • Driving a vehicle with an open container – 3 points;
  • Parking on a highway – 3 points;
  • Speeding by 15 miles or less above the speed limit – 3 points;
  • Toll violations – 3 points;
  • Any other moving violation – 3 points;
  • Driving during restricted hours – 4 points;
  • Passing a stopped school bus – 4 points;
  • Reckless driving – 4 points;
  • Running a red light – 4 points;
  • Speeding by 16 miles or more above the posted speed limit – 4 points;
  • Vehicle crash due to a moving violation – 4 points;
  • Leaving the scene of an accident that resulted in property damage worth $50 or more – 6 points; and
  • Vehicle crash due to a speeding violation – 6 points.

As defined in Fla. Stat. § 322.27, if an individual acquires too many points on their driving record within the time periods listed below, they can face the following periods of suspension:

  • 12 or more points in one year – 30-day driver’s license suspension;
  • 18 or more points in 18 months – 90-day driver’s license suspension; and
  • 24 or more points in three years – One-year driver’s license suspension.

If an individual has received a license suspension from too many points on their driving record, it is important to contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer in the Florida Panhandle who may be able to the driver apply for a hardship license or restricted driving privileges. A driver may be eligible to receive a hardship license if the driver completes a driving improvement course, pays any fees as requested by the Okaloosa County clerk and pays a license reinstatement fee.


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Florida Habitual Traffic Offenders

According to Fla. Stat. § 322.264, an individual who has committed several criminal traffic offenses within a specified period of time can be classified as a Habitual Traffic Offender, or HTO. This classification can result in driver’s license revocation for five years or a permanent revocation.

Anyone who commits the following can be classified as an HTO:

  • Is convicted of 15 or more traffic violations that could be assigned points under Florida’s driving point schedule within a period of five years; or
  • Is convicted three or more times within a period of five years of the following criminal traffic offenses:
    • Driving Under the Influence (DUI);
    • Traffic crime punishable as a felony offense;
    • Driving with a suspended or revoked license;
    • Hit and run;
    • Leaving the scene of an accident;
    • Operating a commercial motor vehicle with a suspended or revoked license; and/or
    • Vehicular manslaughter or vehicular homicide.

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South Walton Traffic Crimes

Some of the most commonly charged criminal traffic offenses in the Florida Panhandle are as follows:

  • Reckless Driving, Florida Statute § 316.192 — An individual can be charged with this offense if they operate a vehicle in Florida with complete disregard for the safety or property of others people. This offense can result in a moving violation, misdemeanor of the first degree, or felony of the third-degree conviction.
  • Driving with a Suspended or Revoked License, Florida Statute § 322.34 — An individual can be charged with this offense if they operate a motor vehicle on Florida roads with a driver’s license that has been suspended or revoked. This offense can result in a moving violation, misdemeanor of the second or first degree, or felony of the third-degree conviction.
  • Leaving the Scene of an Accident (Hit and Run), Florida Statute § 316.027 — An individual can be charged with this offense if they are involved in a car accident that caused bodily injury to a person and they intentionally leave the scene of the accident without giving assistance or providing contact information. This offense can result in a felony of the third degree or felony of the first-degree conviction.
  • Fleeing or Eluding, Florida Statute § 316.1935 — This offense can be a third-degree felony, but any driver who flees or eludes a police officer can also be charged with per se reckless driving. An individual can be charged with this offense if they:
    • Operate their motor vehicle with knowledge they have been ordered to stop the vehicle by a police officer;
    • Willfully refuse or fail to stop in compliance with an order by a police officer; or
    • Willfully flee or attempt to elude a police officer.
  • Vehicular Homicide, Florida Statute § 782.071 — An individual can be charged with this offense if they recklessly operate their vehicle and cause death or serious bodily injury to another person as a result of the reckless operation of the vehicle. This offense can result in a felony of the second or first-degree conviction.

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Penalties in Destin for Traffic Offenses

Florida law provides the general statutory penalties for criminal traffic offenses in sections 775.082, 775.083 or 775.084 of the Florida Statutes. These penalties can vary depending on many factors, including whether the offense resulted in death or bodily injury, whether the alleged offender has any prior criminal convictions, and whether the alleged offender had the required mental state for the alleged offense.

  • If an individual is convicted of a misdemeanor of the second-degree criminal traffic offense, they can face a jail sentence up to 60 days and/or a fine up to $500.
  • An individual who is charged with a misdemeanor of the second-degree criminal traffic offense can receive a jail sentence up to one year and/or a fine up to $1,000.
  • A conviction for a felony of the third-degree criminal traffic offense is punishable by a prison sentence up to five years and/or a fine up to $5,000.
  • An individual that has been convicted of a felony of the second-degree criminal traffic offense can face a prison sentence up to 15 years and/or a fine up to $10,000.
  • A conviction for a felony of the first-degree criminal traffic offense can result in a prison sentence up to 30 years and/or a fine up to $10,000.

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Destin Resources for Traffic Crimes

Okaloosa County Clerk of Circuit Court – The Okaloosa County Clerk’s office provides miscellaneous information and frequently asked question regarding traffic tickets, criminal traffic charges and civil traffic infractions on this website. The Okaloosa County Clerk of Circuit Court is located at:

Okaloosa County Clerk
Okaloosa County Courthouse
101 E. James Lee Blvd.
Crestview, Florida 32536
Phone: (850) 689 - 5000

Florida Statutes Online – Chapter 316 of the Florida Statutes, also known as the State Uniform Traffic Control, defines many of the state’s traffic offenses, including reckless driving, careless driving, hit and run and most moving violations, in addition to the penalties an individual can face if they are convicted of a criminal traffic offense.

Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FDHSMV) – This link is the Florida driving point system on the FDHSMV’s website. The FHDSMV enforces and regulates the state’s traffic laws and provides information on driver’s licenses, the state’s driving point system, and Florida’s motor vehicle laws.

Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) – The FDOT is a state government department that maintains supports and upholds the state’s traffic laws and aims to decrease the severity, frequency, rate and potential for motor vehicle accidents throughout the state.


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Adkinson Law Firm, LLC | South Walton Traffic Crimes Attorney

If you have been accused of a criminal traffic offense throughout the Florida Panhandle, including the areas of Okaloosa County, Santa Rosa County, Bay County, Walton County, Holmes County, Washington County and Escambia County, contact Adkinson Law Firm, LLC today.

Clay Adkinson of Adkinson Law Firm, LLC is an experienced DeFuniak Springs criminal defense lawyer who will make every effort to help you achieve the most desirable outcome for your particular situation. Contact Adkinson Law Firm, LLC today for a free consultation at or send an online message about your alleged traffic offense today.