Consequences of Driving with a Suspended License in Florida
Oftentimes when an individual has their license suspended, this does not mean they stop driving. Typically drivers still need to get around for work or pleasure and they risk getting caught so they can still have access to transportation. However, getting caught driving with a suspended license can have consequences graver than these people may imagine.
Reasons Your License Could Be Suspended
People may not realize they are engaging in activities that may potentially cause their license to be suspended. Some common reasons licenses get suspended include:
- Unpaid child support;
- Convictions for other felonies (i.e. drug crimes under Fla. Stat. Ann. § 322.055);
- Failure to pay obligations imposed by prior criminal convictions (Fla. Stat. Ann. § 322.245);
- Accumulating too many points on your driving record for traffic violations;
- DUI convictions; and
- Sex crime convictions.
What If You Don’t Know Your License Was Suspended?
There are two types of citations for driving with a suspending license in Florida: driving with or without knowledge that your license was suspended. Driving while knowing your license is suspended is considered a criminal offense. This means the officer could potentially give you a notice to appear or take you to jail. In contrast, if you are cited for driving without knowledge of your license suspension, this is considered a civil violation and handled like an ordinary ticket. To find out whether your license has been suspended, you can check the Florida DMV website or go to your local DMV.
Charges for Driving With a Suspended License
The penalties for being charged with driving with a suspended license with knowledge depend on how many prior offenses you’ve had and in what time period they occurred:
- First Conviction: A first conviction is considered a second-degree misdemeanor with a possibility of $500 maximum fine and a maximum of 60 days in jail and a maximum of 6 months probation
- Second Conviction: A second conviction is considered a first-degree misdemeanor, with a possibility of a $1,000 maximum fine and maximum of one year in jail and a maximum of 1 year probation
- Third or Subsequent Conviction: A third or subsequent conviction is classified as a third-degree felony with a possibility of a $5,000 maximum fine or up to 5 years in prison and a maximum of 5 years probation.
- A third conviction for DWLS within a 5 year period will result in a habitual traffic offender designation and a 5 year revocation of your license.
How to Reinstate Your License
After your period of suspension is over, you will still need to apply to reinstate your license. In Florida, it costs a base fee of $45 to reinstate your suspended license. However, if your license was suspended because of a DUI, Fla. Stat. Ann. § 322.21 provides that you may potentially be charged an additional $130 fee. Similarly, § 322.21 also provides you may be charged an additional $180 if your license was suspended because of a false or fraudulent insurance claim.
Contact an Experienced Winter Park Criminal Defense Attorney Today
If you are charged with driving with a suspended license in Winter Park, contact the experienced criminal defense attorneys at Cotter & Zelman, P.A. Our attorneys can help evaluate your claim and determine whether there are any valid defenses to employ based on the facts of your case. Contact us today for a free case review.