IN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE SIXTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT
OF THE STATE OF FLORIDA IN AND FOR PINELLAS COUNTY

SAMUEL MARK RAYNOVICH

             Petititioner,

v.                                          Case No. 01-3607 CI – 88B

STATE OF FLORIDA,

DEPARTMENT OF HIGHWAY SAFETY AND MOTOR VEHICLES

             Respondent.

________________________________/

Opinion filed __________________.

Petition for Writ of Certiorari
seeking review of a decision of
the DHSMV

Kathryn Schoen, Esq.
Attorney for petitioner

Kathy Jimenez, Esq.
Attorney for respondent

ORDER AND OPINION

      THIS MATTER is before the Court on Samuel Raynovich’s petition for writ of certiorari seeking review of a decision of the DHSMV upholding the suspension of his driver’s license. After reviewing the briefs and record, this Court denies the petition.

       The petitioner’s driver’s license was suspended because he was a habitual traffic offender pursuant to §322.264 Fla.Stat. (2000). He was a habitual traffic offender because he was convicted of three traffic offenses within five years. The petitioner argues that the third conviction should not count because the judge withheld adjudication. This Court disagrees.

       As noted in Raulerson v. State, 763 So.2d 285 (Fla. 2000), the term “conviction” has been a chameleon-like term drawing its meaning from the particular statutory context in which the term is used. The court then went on to examine the legislative intent of §322.34, the statute governing driving with a suspended license (“DWLCSR”). It noted that the legislative intent underlying all of Chapter 322 is to provide the maximum safety for all persons who use the public highways; deny the privilege of driving to persons, who by their conduct and record, have demonstrated their indifference for the safety and welfare of others; and discourage repetition of criminal action. It concluded that the legislature “clearly intended that the term “conviction” as used in section 322.34(1) include both adjudications and withheld adjudications in DWLCSR cases, unless the disposition is made pursuant to section 318.14(10) … .” Id. at 290.

      Although this Court is being asked to interpret the term “conviction” as used in §322.264, the same analysis of legislative intent results in the same conclusion arrived at by the court in Raulerson. That is, the term “conviction” includes both adjudications and withholds. Treating a withhold of adjudication case as a conviction under these circumstances would meet the legislative intent that habitual offenders be denied the privilege of driving in Florida. It would provide the maximum safety to other Florida drivers because this particular individual would not be driving. And it would discourage repetition of criminal action by depriving the petitioner of his driving privilege for repeatedly violating the traffic laws.

       The petitioner’s reliance upon State v. Gloster, 703 So.2d 1174 (Fla. 1st DCA 1997) is misplaced. In Gloster the court was interpreting §322.34 in combination with the statutory scheme governing probation. The legislative intent of the probation statute is to encourage rehabilitation where there is no more criminal behavior. The statute in the case at hand, however, has a completely different legislative intent.

        IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that the petition for writ of certiorari is denied.

        DONE AND ORDERED in Chambers at St.Petersburg, Pinellas County, Florida this 12th day of September, 2001.

                                                                             

__________________________
David A. Demers
Circuit Judge, Appellate Division

      

 

cc:   Kathryn Schoen, Esq.

        Kathy Jimenez, Esq.