In Florida, driving with a suspended or revoked driver's license is a serious crime. Often times, Florida drivers are committing this act without even being aware of it. According to Sun-Sentinel, as of February, there were nearly 2 million drivers in Florida with suspended licenses, many for offenses that have nothing to do with driving.
These drivers are usually unaware because the notice of their suspensions is mailed to the address on their license, and those aren't always up to date. If you're caught behind the wheel, you could land in jail, face a criminal record, and a mountain of fees to pay. There are also some serious long-term negative impacts of doing this that are commonly overlooked.
What Happens When You Drive With A Suspended License
Florida law states that the first offense for driving with a suspended license (with knowledge of the suspension, revocation, or cancellation) can result in 60 days jail and a fine of up to $500.00. A second offense can lead to a first-degree misdemeanor, that can mean up to one year in jail. A third offense can result in felony charges, with up to five years in prison and a maximum fine of $5,000.
If three offenses of this type happen in a short five-year period, you will be labeled by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles as a Habitual Traffic Offender, which means a five-year driver's license revocation. A person classified as a Habitual Traffic Offender cannot obtain a hardship license until a full year has elapsed from their most recent conviction.
Ways Your License Can Be Suspended
There are several ways you can end up with a suspended license in Florida and many of them aren't even traffic violations. Common examples can include the following:
- Points suspensions
- Child support delinquency
- DUI arrest or conviction
- Failure to pay fines, court judgments, or court costs in various types of cases
- Failure to appear in court
- Failure to maintain car insurance
- Drug-related convictions
- Petit theft convictions;
- Skipping traffic school
- Drivers under 18 can have their licenses suspended for: truancy, sexting, tobacco and alcohol possession, vandalism and graffiti, and gun possession among other things.
How to Fix A Suspended License in Florida
There are several ways to defend a suspended license in Florida and with the right help from an experienced attorney you can get your driving record back on track.
- Legal challenges to the validity of the traffic stop
- The accused was not driving at the time of the act resulting in the suspension
- The accused did not know of the suspension, cancellation, or revocation
- The vehicle is not a "motor vehicle" for purposes of the driver's license statute
- The accused's Florida driver's license had been reinstated or adequate reason existed to believe it had been reinstated
A criminal defense attorney can often negotiate with the prosecution to have the charge amended to No Valid Florida Driver's License. This can happen in cases where there is a minimal driving record, or where the individual obtains a valid Florida driver's license prior to entering a plea or going to trial.
If you have been accused of driving on a suspended, canceled, or revoked license, we may be able to help you. A criminal defense lawyer is the best resource for explaining the reasons for the suspension or revocation and for finding a way to have them lifted and your driving record reinstated. If your Florida license is suspended, call us today at (305) 442-0200
Roustan, W. K. (2018, February 16). Florida suspends nearly 2 million driver's licenses. Help may be on way. Retrieved from https://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/transportation/fl-reg-drivers-license-suspensions-20180208-story.html
Driver License Suspensions and Revocations. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.flhsmv.gov/driver-licenses-id-cards/driver-license-suspensions-revocations/