Driving with a suspended license is a criminal offense in Tampa and across the State of Florida, and you should take the charges very seriously. It is not unusual for drivers to fail to realize the severity of the consequences if they are facing conviction on a charge of driving with a suspended license in the State of Florida.
It is also possible for drivers to be charged with driving on a suspended license without knowledge, which is classed as a non-criminal charge. However, it can still be used by the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FHSMV) to suspend your license for up to 5 years, in the event that you are convicted of this charge, and you have other charges on your record within a 5 year period.
Every single day, thousands of vehicles travel on the roadways in the State of Florida. And of those vehicles, there are up to 15 million legal drivers. However, it is estimated that 1 in every 10 drivers on the road is driving illegally, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. Some of these illegal drivers have never owned a license, and some have recently faced a license suspension or revocation.
When a citizen is caught driving on a suspended license, it can quickly turn into a criminal case before they even know it. It is common for drivers to refuse to seek legal advice in these cases, and they often choose to plead guilty to suspended license charges before they have even understood the complexities and consequences that come with pleading guilty. It can have negative impacts on their driving privileges, and they will also face a criminal record. In addition, they will experience the repercussions in their personal and professional lives.
The Law Place has over seventy-five years of combined experience and knowledge when it comes to tackling cases for driving with a suspended license, reckless driving, DUI’s, car accidents and many other types of traffic violations. Our law firm has an in-depth understanding of traffic rules in the State of Florida, and we want to be the ones to fight your case.
We understand that some citizens in Tampa may have lost their license for financial reasons rather than careless behavior behind the wheel. For instance, it is possible to lose your driver’s license as a result of failing to pay a series of parking tickets, missing a court date, or not being able to consistently afford child support payments. That is why it is important to hire a skilled criminal defense lawyer from The Law Place to help you fight the case and avoid the negative consequences of being charged with driving with a suspended license in Tampa.
Get in touch with The Law Place today for a free consultation. Contact us now on (941) 444-4444, and we will fight your driving with a suspended license charge together in Tampa.
Definition of Driving With a Suspended License in Tampa, FL.
Florida Statute 322.34 explains the definition of driving with a suspended license as:
Any person whose driving license or driving privilege has been canceled, suspended, or revoked, except a “habitual traffic offender” as defined in Florida Statute 322.264, who drives a vehicle while their license or privilege is canceled, suspended, or revoked is guilty of a moving violation.
A first conviction results in a second-degree misdemeanor, a second conviction results in a first-degree misdemeanor, a third or subsequent conviction results in a third-degree felony. These are punishable as provided by Florida Statutes 775.082, 775.083, and 775.084.
Reasons for License Suspension in Tampa, FL.
There is a variety of reasons why the FHSMV can decide to suspend an individual’s driver’s license in Tampa, Florida. Some of the main reasons tend to include:
- Points – The driver obtained too many points on their license.
- DUI – The driver has previously been arrested or convicted on a DUI charge.
- Child support – The driver failed to pay child support payments, which is also considered an act of delinquency.
- Court costs – The driver failed to pay court fines or judgments.
- Drug crimes – The driver has previous drug-related convictions on their criminal record.
- Petit theft – The driver has a previous conviction of petit theft.
- Breathalyzer – The driver refused to take a breathalyzer test.
- Fleeing to elude – The driver has a previous conviction of fleeing to elude.
- Racing – The driver previously made a plea for a racing on highways charge.
- Failure to appear – The driver failed to make an appearance at a mandatory court hearing.
- Habitual traffic offender – The driver is classed as a habitual traffic offender.
- Insurance – The driver failed to maintain insurance.
The Law Place has a multitude of resources and the necessary skills to explain any potential mitigating factors or circumstances to the judge, as a way to open up new options to have the license suspension or revocation lifted in Tampa. A skilled criminal defense lawyer from The Law Place will be able to help you understand the law on driving with a suspended license if you schedule a free consultation today.
Penalties for Driving With a Suspended License in Tampa, FL.
If you were driving and knowing full well that your license is suspended, revoked, or canceled, then you could be facing the following charges. However, the penalties you might face upon conviction will depend on a series of factors, including an official assessment of your criminal history record.
- First offense – An individual who is caught driving on a suspended license for the first time is classed as a second-degree misdemeanor. They will face up to 60 days in jail, and they will receive a fine of up to $500 to pay.
- Second offense – An individual who is caught driving on a suspended license for the second time is classed as a first-degree misdemeanor. They will face up to 1 year in jail, and they will receive a fine of up to $1,000 to pay.
- Third or subsequent offense – An individual who is caught driving on a suspended license for a third or subsequent time is classed as a third-degree felony. They will face up to 5 years in prison, and they will receive a fine of up to $5,000 to pay.
- Habitual offender – An individual who commits a third offense, when they have two prior offenses on their record that were committed within a five-year time span, will be classed as a habitual traffic offender. They will face license revocation for up to 5 years, and they will not be eligible to apply for a hardship license until a whole year has passed since the date of their recent conviction.
Defenses to Driving With Suspended License in Tampa, FL.
The Law Place has several different defense strategies that we can use to contest a charge of driving on a suspended license in an attempt to reduce the charges or minimize the severity of the consequences. Some of the most common defense strategies include:
- Traffic stop – There were legal challenges associated with the traffic stop.
- Mistaken identity – It is possible that the accused individual has been confused with someone else who was actually the offender.
- Lack of knowledge – The individual was not aware of the suspension, revocation, or cancellation of their driver’s license.
- Not driving on a public highway – The individual was not driving on a public Florida highway.
- Not a motor vehicle – Under Florida law, the vehicle is not classed as a ‘motor vehicle.’
- Reinstated license – The individual’s license has been reinstated, or they had a valid reason to believe that their license has been reinstated.
A skilled criminal defense lawyer from The Law Place will be able to develop a strong defense strategy based on the circumstances and specifics of your case. In some situations, it is possible to have the charge amended to a ‘no valid driver’s license’ charge, or to a civil citation (which means a failure to display), as a way to lessen the severity of the penalties and the consequences that you would have faced if you were being convicted of driving with a suspended license in Tampa, Florida.
Reinstating Your License in Tampa, FL.
It is important for you to understand that under no circumstances are you allowed to get behind the wheel if your license has been suspended or revoked by the State of Florida. You will need to apply for a reinstatement of your license before you can drive again after the suspension time period is over. However, you might need to apply for a whole new license if your driver’s license was revoked by the state.
The reinstatement fee for a suspended license is $45 in Tampa, Florida. However, the fee for a revoked license is slightly more at $75, and you will also need to pay another fee when you make an application for a new license.
In the event that your license was suspended or revoked due to a DUI charge, or you refused to submit to a breathalyzer test in order to determine if you were driving under the influence or not, then you might possibly be charged an additional $130, according to Florida Statute 322.21. However, if your license was suspended or revoked due to a fraudulent insurance claim, then you might possibly be charged another $180 for the reinstatement of your driver’s license.
It is always better to speak to a criminal defense lawyer before you make any move following a charge of driving with a suspended license in the State of Florida. Contact The Law Place today to schedule a free consultation, and we will be at your side every step of the way.
Contact The Law Place Today
Have you been charged for driving with a suspended license in Tampa, Florida? Are you feeling uncertain about what happens next? Then we highly recommend that you seek legal advice from a criminal defense lawyer from The Law Place.
At The Law Place, we have over seventy-five years of collective experience in managing cases from DUI’s, reckless driving, car accidents, personal injury claims, and driving with a suspended license charge. Our law firm has the necessary skills to combat your license suspension and achieve a reasonable outcome for your case in the State of Florida.
It would be highly beneficial for your future if you speak to a criminal defense lawyer from our law firm as soon as possible so that we can help you to figure out the best move to make next in your current situation. We have had the privilege of working with clients in Tampa and across the State of Florida to successfully beat their charges regarding driving on a suspended license, and we want to be the ones to help you succeed.
Driving with a suspended license can haunt you for the rest of your life, and it can also have a negative impact on your personal and professional life if the case isn’t handled properly. Our law firm understands that sometimes even good, hardworking people can make a simple, honest mistake, and we believe that you shouldn’t have to suffer the repercussions of a case like this for the rest of your life.
A skilled lawyer will be able to conduct an investigation into your case, gather the relevant facts, and build a strong defense strategy to take into the courtroom. But most of all, it is very important that you take your charges seriously – as this will show the judge and the jury that you are taking responsibility for your actions. Rest assured that we will work hard to reduce the charges and minimize the consequences for your case.
Don’t hesitate to reach out and contact The Law Place to schedule a free consultation today. A criminal defense lawyer will be waiting to hear from you. Contact us now on (941) 444-4444, and we will fight your driving with a suspended license charge together in Tampa.