In St. Petersburg and throughout the State of Florida, it is possible to get a suspended driver’s license for a large range of reasons. When this happens, it can be extremely frustrating as a lot of people depend on their vehicles to get to work and carry out daily errands. It is easy to see why people would drive with a suspended driver’s license, but if you get caught, you may face criminal penalties. Law enforcement in Florida takes license suspension seriously, so being caught can result in a permanent mark on your criminal record, which may affect your future job and education prospects, amongst other things.
If you or someone you know is facing charges of driving with a suspended license, you should seek legal assistance as soon as possible. Here at The Law Place, we have a team of experienced criminal defense attorneys who can help you fight your criminal charges in St. Petersburg, Florida. Our law firm boasts over 75 years of combined experience in multiple practice areas, including cases involving driving on a suspended license. We know that battling these charges alone can be extremely stressful, and our priority is ensuring that you are treated fairly by the legal system in Florida. We have a proven track record in reducing penalties and getting charges thrown out for our clients, and we want to do the same for you.
We offer a free consultation where you can speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney from our firm with no strings attached.
Call today to arrange a free consultation. Our lines are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
What Is Driving With a Suspended License in St. Petersburg, FL?
Driving with a suspended license is made an offense under Florida Statute 322.34. This statute provides that any person who has had their driver’s license suspended or revoked and continues to drive on the highways while knowing that their license is suspended shall be charged with the offense of driving on a suspended license.
This statute also sets out the penalties for driving on a suspended license, providing that a person who has been charged for the first time will face a second-degree misdemeanor charge. If an individual is caught for a second time, they will face a first-degree misdemeanor charge, and if they are caught a subsequent time, they will be faced with a third-degree felony charge, with carries with it an automatic penalty of 10 days in jail.
What Happens if You Get Pulled Over With a Suspended License in St. Petersburg, FL?
There are a number of reasons you may get pulled over by a law enforcement officer in St. Petersburg, Florida. You may have been speeding, ran a red light, or a police officer may have had suspicions you were driving under the influence (DUI). If you get pulled over, and a law enforcement officer discovers that you are driving on a suspended license, they will begin to question you on whether you were aware of the fact that it’s suspended. In these situations, it is important that you cooperate with the officer and don’t try and disagree or clash with them.
In order to be charged with driving on a suspended license, you must have had knowledge of the fact that the license had been suspended or revoked. To avoid facing an automatic conviction, it is important to not admit to being aware of the suspension. Admitting awareness straight away could result in you facing much harsher penalties.
Reasons for License Suspension in St. Petersburg, FL.
There are numerous reasons you may face license suspension in St. Petersburg, as it is a penalty for many traffic violations. Some traffic violations which will result in license suspension include:
- DUI – If you have been caught driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs more than once.
- Points – Having too many penalty points on your license.
- Child support – If you have been late in paying child support payments. The courts consider this an act of delinquency.
- Drug crimes – If your record has previous drug convictions on it.
- Court costs – If you have been late in paying court costs.
- Breathalyzer – If you were pulled over on suspicion of DUI and refused to take a breath test.
- Petty theft – Having previous convictions for petty theft.
- Fleeing to elude – If you have a fleeing to elude conviction on your record.
- Racing – Having racing convictions on your record.
- Insurance – Failing to have adequate insurance coverage.
- Habitual traffic offender – If you are a habitual traffic offender.
- Failing to appear – If you failed to appear at a mandatory court hearing.
If you have had your license suspended in St. Petersburg, FL., you should immediately contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. Here at The Law Place, our team of criminal defense attorneys has dealt with many license suspension cases. We offer a free consultation where you can receive legal advice from one of our lawyers on what your options are. A lawyer can help you understand the legal system in Florida so that you are not left feeling confused.
Penalties for Driving With a Suspended License in St. Petersburg, FL.
Depending on your particular situation, the charges you may face for driving on your suspended driver’s license may vary. Some factors will influence the severity of your charges, including whether you have been convicted of this charge before. Florida Statute 322.34 sets out the penalties for driving on a suspended license, which includes:
- First offense – A second-degree misdemeanor charge which could result in a maximum fine of $500 and up to 60 days in county jail.
- Second offense – A first-degree misdemeanor charge which could result in up to one year in county jail and a maximum fine of $1,000.
- Third offense – If you are caught for the third time, you can face a third-degree felony charge. A felony charge of this nature carries with it up to five years state prison time in addition to a maximum fine of $5,000.
- Habitual traffic offender – Being caught driving on a suspended driver’s license more than three times can result in your license being revoked completely for a period not exceeding 5 years. If you get charged with being a habitual traffic offender by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FHSMV), you will be unable to get a hardship license for a one-year period.
Regardless of whether you are facing a misdemeanor or a felony driving while license suspended charge, it is important that you seek the assistance of a criminal defense attorney. Charges of this nature can leave a permanent stain on your record and can result in the rest of your life being affected. A lawyer can help build a strong defense on your behalf to ensure that the rest of your life is not impacted by these charges.
Defenses to Driving With a Suspended License in St. Petersburg, FL.
In order to prevent you from receiving a conviction and to ensure the best possible outcome for your traffic offense in St. Petersburg, an experienced attorney will build a strong defense on your behalf. Our law office has a lot of experience in creating defenses for our clients, and our attorneys will use their knowledge and skills to reduce the charges brought against you. Some examples of defenses they may use could include:
- Mistaken identity – Law enforcement has made a mistake in identifying you as the offender.
- Traffic stop – The police offer who pulled you over did so without valid legal grounds.
- Lack of knowledge – You were completely unaware that your license had been suspended or revoked at the time of the offense.
- Not driving on a public highway – When pulled over by a member of law enforcement, you were not driving on a public highway in Florida.
- Not a ‘motor vehicle’ – The vehicle in which you were pulled over is not considered a ‘motor vehicle’ under State law.
- Reinstated license – Your license had actually been reinstated at the time of the alleged offense, or you are able to show that you genuinely believed it had been reinstated.
Receiving any criminal charge, whether it’s a first-degree misdemeanor, a second-degree misdemeanor, or a felony charge, can impact the rest of your life. Depending on the particular facts of your case, an attorney may be able to reduce your charges to a ‘no valid driver’s license charge’ or even to a civil citation. Speaking with an experienced motor vehicle attorney as soon as possible is the best way to ensure that your charges get reduced or thrown out completely.
What Can a Lawyer From The Law Place Do for You?
Facing serious driving while license suspended charges can be extremely stressful and difficult. You could be looking at a driving record that could impact the rest of your future. If your driver’s license is suspended in Florida and you have been caught driving, we recommend that you speak with a motor vehicle attorney as soon as possible. At The Law Place, our main office offers a free initial consultation where an attorney from our firm will discuss your case with you and help you understand the criminal system. If you decide to proceed with us as your legal representatives, some of the things our lawyers can do for you include:
- Investigating your court case by speaking with witnesses and examining police reports.
- Building a strong case in order to avoid a conviction.
- Cross-examining any of the witnesses.
- Submitting all of the documents on your behalf.
- Having negotiations with the prosecutor in an attempt to get you a plea bargain.
- Fighting in court to ensure that you are not faced with jail time or driving while license suspended conviction.
If you are facing suspension of your driver’s license charges, we recommend speaking with an attorney from our firm as soon as possible. Our lawyers will use their experience to ensure that you receive the best possible outcome for your case, which could include having your fine or jail time reduced or having your case thrown out completely.
Call The Law Place in Florida Today
Here at The Law Place, our lawyers know that facing driving license suspension charges can be extremely stressful, particularly if you are looking at jail time or a large fine. Regardless of whether you were driving on a suspended license with or without knowledge of the suspension, you may still face severe charges, which could result in up to five years in prison.
If you or someone you know has been caught driving with a license suspension, you should contact our law office today. We offer a free consultation where you can speak to an experienced attorney from our firm regarding your case in St. Petersburg. Our office has built up a strong attorney-client relationship due to our high success rate in reducing or abolishing our clients’ charges. Our lawyers will use their knowledge and experience to ensure that you receive the best possible result for your criminal charges in Florida.
Call today to schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys. Our lines are always open.