Motion to Vacate or Set Aside Conviction

Motion to Vacate or Set Aside Conviction

150 150 Steven Sessa

DEFENDANT, by and through the undersigned counsel and pursuant to Sections 318.14(10) and 318.1451, Florida Statutes (2012), and Rules 6.291, 6.490(a), 6.560, and 6.550, Florida Rules of Traffic Court, respectfully requests that this Honorable Court modify the disposition of the uncounseled plea submitted by Defendant in the above-captioned case.

As grounds, for this Motion, Defendant states as follows:

  1. On or about June 24, 2012, Defendant was cited in Palm Beach County for Operating a Motor Vehicle While License Suspended or Revoked (Without Knowledge), a violation of Section 322.34(1), Florida Statutes.
  2. On or about April 30, 2013, Defendant paid the civil penalties assessed pursuant to the above-described citation.  The payment of civil penalties, along with a subsequent conviction for driving on a suspended license, resulted in an adjudication of guilt and Defendant’s classification by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) as a habitual traffic offender.
  3. At the time Defendant paid the above-described civil penalties, Defendant did not know that the resulting adjudication would be used by the DHSMV to classify her as a habitual traffic offender and revoke her driving privileges for a period of five (5) years.
  4. Defendant was not aware or informed of the consequences of payment of the infractions by the Court or Clerk’s office, nor did she have the advice of competent counsel at the time of payment.
  5. In paying the civil penalties, Defendant was merely attempting to fulfill her financial obligations to the State of Florida and to avoid further suspensions of her license.
  6. In State v. Powell, 8 Fla. L. Weekly Supp. 567a (County Court, 9th Judicial Circuit 2001), the Court ruled that the use of these convictions for the purpose of the habitual traffic offender statute “not only violates fundamental fairness, but more importantly it violates the notice requirements essential to the principles of Due Process.”
  7. Defendant submits to the Court that, had she known of the consequences of a conviction, she would have elected Defensive Driving School or, pursuant to Section 318.14(10), Florida Statutes, requested a Withhold of Adjudication upon a showing of proof of compliance.  This would have allowed Defendant to avoid being classified as a Habitual Traffic Offender.
  8. Defendant further submits that the facts on which Defendant’s claims are predicated were not known to her and could not, under Defendant’s circumstances, have been ascertained through the exercise of due diligence.
  9. Defendant’s claim is made within 2 years of the time the new facts were or could have been discovered with the exercise of due diligence.
  10. Defendant is currently facing serious financial difficulties due to her inability to drive and her status as a single mother. If adjudication is withheld in the above-captioned cause, Defendant would have a realistic possibility of restoring her driving privileges.

WHEREFORE, Defendant respectfully requests that this Honorable Court enter an Order vacating said adjudication and entering a Withhold of Adjudication.