A first-time conviction for driving with a suspended or revoked license (DWLS) is a misdemeanor. So too is a second conviction. It's a serious offense, but the consequences are less severe than those associated with subsequent convictions.
Third and fourth-time DWLS convictions are felonies. They not only stay on your record for the rest of your life, but can also inflict stiff financial penalties and long jail sentences. You could end up paying $5,000 in fines and spending up to five years in jail.
For this reason, it's imperative that you seek experienced legal representation to defend against a fourth-time DWLS charge. That's the best way to avoid jail time and a felony conviction.
Possible Defenses Against A Fourth Time DWLS Conviction
If this were your first DWLS ticket, you might be able to show the judge that you were unaware your license had been suspended. This could persuade him or her to treat the offense as a civil traffic infraction rather than a criminal offense.
But if this is your fourth DWLS charge, the judge is unlikely to be receptive to such a defense. The exception is if you can prove you didn't receive notice of the suspension from the DHSMV.
This doesn't mean you're without options. Far from it. A seasoned Orlando traffic attorney may be able to create a defense strategy that can reduce the charges and accompanying penalties, or get the charges dismissed entirely.
For example, your attorney may be able to show that you weren't driving at the time your vehicle was pulled over by the police officer. Or he or she might be able to prove that you were driving in response to a true emergency – for instance, an immediate threat of injury to a loved one. Depending on the circumstances, it may also be possible to show that you had adequate reason to believe your license was in good standing.
How An Experienced Florida Traffic Ticket Lawyer Can Help
It's unwise to contest a DWLS charge without the help of an experienced traffic attorney. An attorney will not only be familiar with how judges treat this type of offense, but will investigate the circumstances behind the charge. He or she will then develop a defense strategy that'll help you to avoid a felony conviction or minimize the charges and penalties.
The Seminole County traffic ticket lawyers at Skubiak & Rivas provide aggressive legal representation for Florida residents. Contact us immediately if you were recently charged with a fourth-time DWLS. Call us at 407-894-4449 or fill out this form for a private, no-risk consultation.