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A driver’s license is imperative to most people in order to function in daily life. However, after certain criminal offenses, the right to drive in the Sunshine State could be taken away. If you are caught driving in Florida with a suspended license, you could face harsh penalties that include jail time and fines.
Although your initial violation may only be classified as a moving violation, subsequent violations can lead to more serious charges. This charge may have resulted from an underlying offense that caused your license to be suspended for a lengthy period or indefinitely. A driving while license suspended attorney can help you resolve the underlying charge and help you have your license reinstated.
Tallahassee Driving While License Suspended Attorney
Losing the right to drive can be tough. However, ignoring the penalties and getting behind the wheel can have serious consequences. The experienced traffic offense attorneys at Pumphrey Law can help you find possible defenses or facts in your case to have your charge dropped or reduced.
The attorneys at Pumphrey Law are knowledgeable about Florida’s traffic laws and can assist you in finding the best possible outcome for your alleged offense. They have years of experience working with clients facing traffic charges, and they will work to ensure your rights are represented.
Pumphrey Law represents clients throughout Tallahassee, Bristol, Monticello, Midway, Crawfordville, and nearby areas. Contact us at (850) 681-7777 today for a free consultation.
Florida Definition for Driving While License is Suspended
Any person who operates a motor vehicle on a Florida road while their license has been suspended or revoked, and knows their license has been suspended or revoked, can face harsh penalties, under Florida Statutes Section 322.34.
This provision requires the driver to know his or her license was suspended. This means the person has previously received a citation for DWLS(“Driving while license suspended”), the person admits to knowing the license was suspended or the person received notice of a court order or judgment the license was suspended. A person is presumed to have received notice of the judgment or order that appears in the department’s records.
If a person operates a motor vehicle on Florida roads while his or her license was suspended or revoked, but they did not know it was suspended or revoked, they typically are subject to a conviction for a moving violation. This is a non-criminal charge. However, if you are charged with this violation, the knowledge required for a criminal conviction will be satisfied for any subsequent convictions.
Reasons Your License May Be Suspended in Florida
Your driver’s license may have been suspended in Florida for numerous reasons, including:
Failure to comply with breathalyzer test after DUI arrest
A conviction for vehicular manslaughter
A conviction for possession of a controlled substance
A conviction for fleeing the scene after a car accident resulting in death or serious bodily injury
A conviction for theft or shoplifting
Your licenses may also be suspended for an accumulation of points on your license. Each traffic ticket awards a certain number of points to your license in a certain time period. For example, failing to stop at a red light yields 4 points on your license. You can check your license status and points through the FLHSMV(Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles) here. According to FLHSMV, your license may be suspended in the following situations:
30-day suspension: 12 points within 12 months
Three-month suspension: 18 points within 18 months
One-year suspension: 24 points within 36 months
You can have the points in a traffic violation reduced by 18% if you participate in a driver improvement course (the fine can also be reduced by participating). However, according to FLHSMV, the driver has to contact the clerk of court within 30 days of receiving the traffic citation.
If your license is suspended, the mere passage of time is not enough to have your license reinstated. FLHSMV states that a person with a suspended license has to submit proof of advanced driver improvement enrollment and pay a reinstatement fee, along with any other additional fees.
Penalties for Driving With a Suspended License in Florida
If you are convicted of driving with a suspended, canceled, or revoked driver’s license in Florida, you can be subjected to the following penalties:
A first offense is a second-degree misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to 60 days imprisonment, fines up to $500 or both
A second offense is a first-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail, fines up to $1,000 or both
A third offense is a third-degree felony, punishable by up to five years in prison, a fine up to $5,000 or both
Additionally, three or more convictions for driving with a suspended license within five years can result in being classified as a habitual traffic offender, which can result in more severe punishments.
While most Florida counties simply give the person violating this law a notice to appear, some counties are known to physically arrest the violators. This means they are taken into custody and in order to get out of jail most of the time are required to post bail. This is due to the fact that a notice to appear is an arrest where the arresting officer does not physically take you into custody. Meaning that if the officer wanted to, they could arrest you. To learn more about what a Notice to Appear is, visit our blog here.
The punishments are harsher for drivers who hold commercial driver’s licenses.
A first offense is a first-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year jail sentence and a fine of up to $1,000.
A second or subsequent offense is a third-degree felony, punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.
Options to Fight a Driving With a Suspended License in Florida
Someone who has been charged with driving with a suspended license in Florida may be able to have this charge reduced or dropped. For example, if someone did not have knowledge his or her license was suspended or revoked, as defined under Florida law, an attorney can use this to have the charge reduced to a lesser offense.
In Florida, prior to your arraignment date, the law provides for an alleged offender to resolve the reason for a suspended driver’s license and present a valid driver’s license to the clerk’s office. This type of resolution to your case will likely be more beneficial than appearing in front of the state prosecutor, who will most likely attempt to give you a harsh punishment. By fixing the reason for your suspended driver’s license, a skilled attorney may be able to help you have the charges dropped entirely.
Finding A Driving While License Suspended Attorney in Tallahassee
If you have been charged with driving while your license is suspended in Leon County, contact Pumphrey Law to discuss the facts of your particular case. An experienced traffic lawyer in Tallahassee may be able to find mitigating circumstances or a defense applicable to your charge and have it reduced or dropped altogether. Call (850) 681-7777 to schedule a free case evaluation.
Attorney Don Pumphrey, Jr. is a former prosecutor, former law enforcement officer, and a successful and experienced criminal defense attorney. Don has achieved over 100 not guilty verdicts at trial and over 2,000 dismissals.