Driving while license suspended is pretty much self-explanatory. If your driving privileges are suspended, cancelled, or revoked, you are not allowed to drive for any reason until your license is reinstated. Your license can be suspended in any number of ways. It could be that you neglected to challenge or pay a traffic ticket either in full or on time. It could be for child support. Any drug offense can result in a suspension. If you have an accident and you don't have sufficient insurance coverage, that can and will result in a suspension. If you were ever fined by a court, even for a non-traffic offense, and you didn't pay that fine on time, your license is sure to be suspended. In short, there are many different ways that your license can be suspended or otherwise invalidated by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles and sometimes, you may not even realize it. Here's what you should know about driving while license suspended in Florida:
There are two different kinds of offense and four different levels of severity when it comes to sentencing on a driving while license suspended. If you are cited for this offense and you did not know your license was suspended, you can be cited for driving while license suspended as a civil traffic infraction which is the first category. This carries a fine of up to $500.00 and is handled the same way as any other traffic infraction (speeding ticket, stop sign ticket, etc.). The second category is a criminal offense: That is to say that the police are saying that you knew your license was suspended and you drove anyway. The criminal category carries three different levels of punishment depending on the circumstances of your case. If you are accused of driving under suspension with knowledge and it is your first offense, you can be found guilty of a second degree misdemeanor which carries a maximum sentence of sixty days in the county jail, six months of probation (total of jail plus probation cannot exceed six months), and a five hundred dollar fine. If you are accused of a second or subsequent offense, then the penalties are increased as the offense is defined as a first-degree misdemeanor carrying one year in the county jail, one-year probation (the total of jail plus probation cannot exceed one year), and a $1,000.00 fine. At hird offense charged as a misdemeanor carries a penalty of a minimum of ten days in jail. If you are accused of driving on a suspended license as an habitual offender or under other circumstances such as, but not limited to, a third offense and the current or most recent being related to a DUI, you can face a felony prosecution of up to five years in prison, five years of probation (five total years) and a fine of $5,000.00. Further, if you accumulate three convictions for driving while license suspended or DUI in any combination, within five years, you will lose your driver's license for five years as an habitual offender.
All this to say that most people do not understand how serious this offense is or can be. When you are accused of this particular offense, you have to be very careful about how you handle your case, even if it is a civil citation for driving without knowledge of the suspension. You should consult with an attorney experienced in the handling of traffic matters before paying that ticket or appearing in court because you could inadvertently take action that results in a five-year revocation of your license or other disastrous consequences. An attorney well versed in the handling of traffic matters will know what to do to avoid that.
If you are charged with driving while license suspended, please call for a free consultation today.