Driving with a suspended license: Three things to know
Oftentimes, if you’ve committed a criminal traffic offense, the penalties can be steep and mean suspension of your driver’s license. This, of course, means that you cannot legally drive for a certain period of time, since a license is mandatory to operate a vehicle.
But, there are times when a driver will ignore the suspended license penalty and drive anyway. In the state of Florida, driving with a suspended license can result in serious and life-altering consequences. Florida Statute 322.34 defines a Driving While Suspended License offense as ‘driving a motor vehicle on a Florida highway while knowingly having a suspended or revoked license.’ Punishment for this charge can be severe, especially depending on the driver’s history of offenses.
See three things below that you should know when it comes to driving with a suspended license.
A suspended license is often the result of another charge
Typically, a license will be suspended if the driver has committed a serious criminal traffic offense. This can include driving under the influence (DUI), reckless driving or accumulating too many points on the license from previous traffic stops and violations. For example, if you accumulate 24 points on your license within three years, you could be subject to a one-year suspension of your license. The length of time the driver’s license is suspended will vary depending on the charge and circumstances.
A suspended license is also different from a revoked license, which is often the result of inadequate vision or ability to drive safely. A license can also be revoked if the driver is a habitual traffic offender.
The penalties can vary substantially – and be severe
As mentioned, the punishment for driving with a suspended license can be severe and depends on the prior charges a driver has faced. For example, if a driver receives three or more convictions for driving with a suspended license within a five-year period, they may be classified as a habitual traffic offender and potentially lose driving privileges for up to five years. A first conviction for this charge is considered a second-degree misdemeanor and can result in a fine of up to $500 and up to 60 days in jail. A second conviction is a first-degree misdemeanor and can result in a fine of up to $1,000 and up to one year in county jail.
In the event of a third conviction for driving with a suspended license, the driver is now facing a third-degree felony and can face a fine of up to $5,000 and up to five years in a Florida state prison.
An experienced attorney is vital if you’re charged
If you’ve driven with a suspended license and are facing charges, you’ll need an experienced attorney to represent you in court. An attorney can craft potential strategies to build a solid defense, and in fact, a good criminal defense attorney may even attend court dates on your behalf. At the office of attorney Joseph Knape, we work diligently to resolve these cases and ensure you receive personal attention and guidance specific to your case. If you’re considering a defense attorney to assist you in your defense, call us at 850-225-5563 or set up a consultation online.