Driving with a Suspended License in Orlando
Lawyer for Driving on a Suspended License in Florida
For many Floridians, having a driver’s license is essential for getting to work and taking care of a family. Many Florida residents do not realize that there are numerous offenses that can result in a driver’s license suspension. Some motorists abide by the terms of their license suspension. Others do not see an alternative and decide to get behind the wheel with a suspended license. Under Florida law (Fla. Stat. § 322.34), driving with a license suspended, revoked, canceled, or disqualified is a serious offense. It can have long-lasting repercussions.
If you're facing a suspension, or if charged you with driving with a suspended license, you need an attorney. Florida traffic crimes defense lawyers at Skubiak & Rivas, P.A. can help.
Reasons for a Driver’s License Suspension in Florida
There are numerous reasons that a person might have their license suspended in Florida. Some of those reasons do not even concern traffic offenses. The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) indicates that 2 million out of a total 14 million registered drivers in the state of Florida currently have suspended licenses. To put that another way, nearly 15 percent of drivers in Florida have suspended licenses.
Examples of common reasons for driver’s license suspensions include but are not limited to the following:
- Having too many points on your license due to previous traffic violations or citations;
- Failing to pay a traffic fine;
- Failing to meet vision standards required for a driver’s license;
- Failing to meet physical standards necessary to safely operate a motor vehicle;
- Conviction for driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs or alcohol;
- Missing payments on your auto insurance policy;
- Failing to attend traffic school;
- Missing a required court date;
- Failing to pay court fees;
- Writing a bad check;
- Possession of alcohol or tobacco for drivers under the age of 18;
- Vandalism and graffiti conviction for drivers under the age of 18;
- Using a fraudulent driver’s license;
- Non-DUI-related traffic violation that results in the death or serious bodily injury of another person;
- Failing to pay child support;
- Failing to pay other financial obligations;
- Designation as a habitual traffic offender; and
- Failing to comply with children’s school attendance requirements as a parent.
Oftentimes drivers do not even realize that they have a suspended license. According to the FLHSMV, in 2017 there were about 285,000 motorists with a suspended license related to something other than a traffic offense. Those license suspensions resulted from failure to pay child support or failure to pay court fees and fines.
Penalties for Continuing to Drive with a Suspended License
The penalties for driving with a suspended license are significant. Many Floridians with suspended licenses choose to drive out of necessity without realizing the repercussions they could be facing. The following are penalties under the Florida Statutes for driving with a suspended license:
- First conviction is a 2nd-degree misdemeanor offense, which carries a maximum penalty of up to up to 60 days in jail and a fine of $500;
- Second conviction is a 1st-degree misdemeanor offense, which carries a maximum penalty of up to 1 year in jail and a fine of $1000;
- Third and subsequent convictions are a 3rd-degree felony offense, which carries a penalty of up to 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000; and
- In situations where a defendant has a third or subsequent offense and the previous offenses happened in the last five years, then the defendant is also designated as a Habitual Traffic Offender (HTO). With HTO status, a person’s driver’s license is revoked for a mandatory five-year period.
As you can see, even a first conviction for driving on a suspended license can result in two months in jail and a significant fine. It is also important to remember that the penalties listed above are not the only consequences of a misdemeanor or felony conviction. After a conviction, you will need to disclose your record in many circumstances. You may be ineligible for certain jobs, lines of credit, and other opportunities.
Defenses for Charges Related to Driving on a Suspended License in Florida
If you are facing charges for driving on a suspended license, know that there are many defense strategies available to fight the charges. Some examples of possible defenses you might raise with the help of a Florida traffic defense lawyer include but are not limited to:
- You were unlawfully stopped under the 4th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Law enforcement officials must have reasonable suspicion for a stop. If they stopped you unlawfully, then the fact that the police discovered you were driving on a suspended license may not hold up in court;
- It was not you actually driving a motor vehicle, and thus you were not driving on a suspended license;
- You were not driving a vehicle on a public road and thus did not violate the Florida Statutes;
- Your driver’s license was previously reinstated after the suspension;
- You believed your driver’s license was lawfully reinstated; and
- You did not know you were driving with a suspended license.
If there are no logical defenses in your case, it is still extremely important to work with a Florida traffic crimes defense lawyer on your case. We may be able to have your charges reduced either to a civil citation or to a second-degree misdemeanor offense. The outcome depends on if you have a previous conviction for driving on a suspended license.
How a Florida Traffic Defense Attorney Can Help
At Skubiak & Rivas, P.A., we know how difficult it can be to face penalties for driving on a suspended license in Florida. We regularly assist Florida drivers in a wide variety of defense strategies, and we may be able to help you avoid some of the consequences of this offense. An aggressive Florida traffic defense attorney can speak with you today about your case.