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Is Driving on a Suspended License a Criminal Charge?

 
04/17/2020
Weinstein Legal
Read Time: 6 Minutes

If your driver's license is currently suspended and law enforcement stops you while driving, be aware that they may arrest you on a criminal charge. Many people don't associate traffic violations as criminal acts, but the reality is that you can face a severe penalty for driving with a suspended license. If you find yourself in this situation, contact a criminal traffic lawyer in Florida as soon as possible.

Do you rely on your vehicle to get to work or school? Do you drive your kids to and from activities? Are you currently having problems fulfilling obligations or completing everyday activities because you don't have a driver's license? You can't risk having these problems exacerbated by a conviction for driving with a suspended license. You need the best legal defense now.

Contact Weinstein Legal today for a free case evaluation. We will begin tirelessly working on your case immediately to ensure you have the best chance in court. It is essential to hire an attorney as soon as you receive criminal traffic charges, as driving on a suspended license may result in jail time, an extended suspension, and paying significant fines.

The Penalty for Driving with a Suspended License

If you know that you have a suspended license and find yourself facing criminal charges following an arrest, you are probably asking yourself, "What are the penalties for driving with a suspended license?"

While it may not seem like something to worry about, it is. In the state of Florida, a first offense for driving with a suspended license can land you in jail for up to two months, and a fine of up to $500.

Multiple Offenses

If the police arrest you for driving with a suspended license a second time, you may face up to a year in jail. If you are found driving without a license a third time you may receive a felony charge and can face up to five years in prison and fines that amount to thousands of dollars.

Further, you could lose your license for 5 years and be deemed a habitual traffic offender, should you receive three violations for Driving Under Suspension or DUI, or a mixture thereof.

The Result

These are steep consequences. The penalty for driving with a suspended license can cost you your freedom, cause you to lose your job, affect your ability to gain employment in the future, and so much more. For this reason, you must have an aggressive legal team fighting on your behalf. There is too much at stake to take your chances in court alone.

Additionally, whether it is your first or second offense, it is likely that the length of your original suspension will be extended, leaving you without the ability to drive for even longer. This alone can cause a significant disruption to your daily life.

When asking yourself, "What are the penalties for driving with a suspended license?" it is important to consider the ramifications that a conviction can have on your future. A criminal defense lawyer can help protect your rights and help you gain a positive outcome.

Reasons Your License May be Suspended

Sometimes, individuals find themselves facing criminal charges when they were unaware that their driver's license had been suspended in the first place. There are a variety of reasons that your license may be suspended. Many think that it can only happen as the result of a DUI, but Florida outlines many scenarios that may result in the loss of your driver's license.

These include:
  • Having too many points on your driving record
  • Failure to pay child support
  • Failure to pay court fines
  • Failure to appear in court on an unrelated charge
  • Failure to renew or continue your motor vehicle insurance
  • Probation conditions that revoke your license

If you are unaware of your driver's license suspension at the time of your arrest, this will greatly help your case. While the state of Florida must notify you of a license suspension, either in person during a court hearing or via mail, miscommunications do happen. Mail gets lost or fails to be delivered. An experienced attorney can argue these facts in court.

If you are unsure if your license is currently suspended, visit the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles' official website to check.

Can the Charge be Reduced?

If you are facing a penalty for driving with a suspended license, the best way to get your charge reduced to a lesser offense is to hire a lawyer. They will form a criminal defense, communicate with the prosecutor, and attempt to negotiate a plea deal.

Defenses for Driving with a Suspended License

The courts may even dismiss your case entirely if your lawyer presents an excellent defense.

Possible defenses against a penalty for driving with a suspended license include:
  • The traffic stop was illegal
  • You were not driving on a public roadway, but perhaps on your property, in your driveway, or otherwise
  • You were not aware your license was suspended
  • Your license is reinstated before your court date

Getting a Charge Reduced

Additionally, a lawyer may be able to negotiate lesser charges, such as lowering the criminal arrest to a civil citation or having the charge reduced to a citation known as "No Valid Florida Driver's License."

These reductions can help you avoid jail time, fines, or a suspension extension. It is crucial that you hire a lawyer to represent you during this time as they will best know how to argue such defenses in court or with the county prosecutor.

How to Get Your License Reinstated

Another common misconception is that once your period of license suspension is over you are automatically permitted to drive again legally. Unfortunately, this is not the case and can result in an arrest you had no way to anticipate.

Where to Go

In the state of Florida, once the term of your driving suspension is up, you must take steps to file for an official reinstatement. You must appear at the DMV, you cannot complete the process online.

The Cost of Reinstating Your License

There is a fee to reinstate your license that ranges from $45-$150 depending on the circumstance surrounding the original suspension. Before you pay the reinstatement fee you must pay any outstanding court fees or traffic tickets in full.

Stipulations and Requirements

You may also have to participate in a state-approved traffic school. Additionally, if your license is suspended due to a term of probation, DUI, or drug offense you may need to take a drug and alcohol class, complete community service hours, or successfully complete probation.

Contacting an Attorney

If you are facing criminal charges for driving with a suspended license, contact Weinstein Legal today. We have successfully fought many criminal traffic cases in court with positive results for our clients. You do not have to go through this alone, nor do you have to accept that you will receive the listed penalty for driving with a suspended license. There are defenses available to you and we will start working on your case right away to ensure you receive the best outcome possible.

Contact us today for a free case evaluation at 954-845-0505. We are here any time you need us, day or night, 365 days a year. There will never be a time when you cannot communicate with our legal team.