If you are charged with Driving with a Suspended License in the state of Florida, you should take the charges very seriously, as you are facing a criminal offense. Much too often, Florida drivers who are charged with driving with a suspended license fail to realize how serious the consequences of a conviction for this offense really are. You can also be charged with Driving on a Suspended License without Knowledge, which is a non-criminal charge, but can be used by the DHSMV to suspend your license for 5 years if you are convicted and have other suspended license or DUI charges on your record in a 5 year period. In other words, you should speak to a criminal lawyer before resolving any Driving With a Suspended License charge to avoid any adverse consequence on your driving privilege.
It can be very beneficial to speak to a criminal attorney from The Law Place before you make any decision as far as how you plan to handle the matter. Our criminal attorneys have helped many, many clients with the same charges you now face, working diligently to help them minimize the consequences. To understand just how serious the penalties for driving with a suspended license really are, these penalties, under Florida Statutes, Section 322.34 include:
- If this is your first offense for driving with a suspended license, and you were aware your license had been suspended, you could spend up to 60 days in county jail, and face a fine as high as $500.
- A second offense for driving with a suspended license could be charged as a first-degree misdemeanor, and, if convicted, you could face up to a year in county jail, and a fine.
- A third offense for driving with a suspended license could be charged as a felony, resulting in up to five years in prison and a maximum fine of $5,000, if you are convicted.
- If you have three convictions for driving with a suspended license within a five-year period, you could be labeled by the DMV as a Habitual Traffic Offender, which can result in a five-year revocation of your driver’s license.
- Once you are labeled as a Habitual Traffic Offender, you cannot obtain a hardship license for at least a year from the time of your most recent conviction (however, our lawyers at The Law Place may be able to alter your record to get your license back immediately).
Reasons for a License Suspension in the State of Florida
There are many reasons the Florida DMV may have suspended your driver’s license. Some of those reasons include:
- An accrual of points, assigned due to other traffic violations, resulting in a license suspension;
- Delinquent child support payments;
- An arrest or conviction for a DUI;
- Being classified as a Habitual Traffic Offender;
- Failing to appear in court as ordered;
- Failing to pay court costs, judgments or fines;
- Failing to maintain mandatory automobile insurance;
- A conviction for petty theft;
- Refusing a DUI chemical test;
- A conviction for Fleeing to Elude;
- A drug-related conviction and
- Being charged with, and entering a plea to, racing on highways.
Potential Defenses to Driving with a Suspended License
If you have been charged with driving with a suspended license, your attorney will build your defense based on the specific circumstances surrounding your charges. Some of the more common defenses to the crime of driving with a suspended license include:
- You can show you were not driving;
- There are legal problems associated with your traffic stop;
- Under Florida statutes, the vehicle in question is not a “motor vehicle;”
- You were not driving on a public highway;
- You were unaware your license had been suspended;
- Your license had been reinstated, or
- You had reason to believe your license had been reinstated
Getting the Help You Need from a Criminal Defense Attorney
If no viable defense for your charges of driving with a suspended license exist, your criminal defense attorney will negotiate with the prosecutor in an effort to have your charges amended to a lesser charge such as No Valid Florida Driver’s License. Or if the prosecutor cannot prove you were driving on a suspended license beyond a reasonable doubt, you may want to take the case to trial. It is very important to have a Florida criminal attorney by your side as soon as possible after you have been charged. The criminal attorneys at The Law Place have the necessary experience and negotiating skills to lessen the impact of your driving with a suspended license charges. Contact a criminal defense attorney from The Law Place today by calling 941-444-4444.