Driving While License Suspended
In Florida it is illegal to drive a motor vehicle when one’s driver’s license has been suspended, regardless of the reason. Pursuant to Florida Statute 322.34(1) any person who drives with a suspended license without knowledge of such suspension commits a civil infraction punishable by a monetary fine. Under Florida Statute 322.34(2) an individual who knowingly drives in Florida with a suspended license is guilty of a second degree misdemeanor on their first offense, a first degree misdemeanor on their second offense, and a third degree felony should they be caught driving a third time. Your can be suspended in Florida for a myriad of reasons from simply not paying a traffic citation, to getting a DUI, to being adjudicated for a drug charge. Though driving with a suspended license seems like a simple charge, the potential collateral penalties can be devastating. The Tampa suspended license lawyers at The Mayberry Law Firm have been helping individuals with this kind of charge for over 6 years. We know every possible penalty involved with a suspended license charge and what steps to take to ensure our clients end up with the best possible result in their case.Penalties
Driving with a suspended license is the charge in Florida that has the potential for the most hidden damage. A seemingly harmless civil traffic infraction or a low level misdemeanor can turn into a horror story in a heartbeat under certain scenarios. Habitual Traffic Offender status occurs when an individual gets any combination of certain traffic offenses within a 5 year period. This offense is the most common charge used as a predicate offense for classifying someone as a habitual traffic offender. Unlike other qualifying offenses, a predicate DWLS charge can be either civil or criminal in nature.
We’ve seen it a million times. An individual has no idea they have a suspended license and is issued a civil infraction for driving while it’s suspended. They do what they think is the right thing and pay the citation. If this happens three times in 5 years, they will receive a letter in the mail from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles informing them that not only is their driver’s license going to be revoked for 5 years, but they cannot drive for any reason for one year.
For civil infractions of the like it is imperative to either take a 4 hour basic driving school to get a withhold of adjudication or hire an experienced Tampa traffic lawyer to obtain a withhold of adjudication on your behalf. It is the adjudication of guilt that makes the civil infraction version a predicate offense for habitualization. As for a criminal count of driving while license suspended, the adjudication status makes no difference. Any combination over the course of 5 years of three driving with a suspended license charges, civil adjudications of guilt or any criminal disposition, will result in you becoming a habitual traffic offender and losing your driver’s license for five years.
If you’ve received a civil or criminal suspended license charge it is of utmost importance to contact a traffic lawyer immediately. Though you may not realize the potential penalties involved with a charge of this nature, our attorneys have been helping our clients avoid disaster for our entire careers. We’re available to speak to you about your driving while license suspended issues at 813-444-7435. Give us a call; we’d love to help.