Driving with a suspended license (DWSL) can have a serious impact on your life. It can result in large fines; it can lead to substantial jail time; it can burden you with a permanent criminal record, which will show up on background checks; and it can jeopardize your driving privileges for years to come.
If you've been charged with a DWSL, the first thing you should do is reach out to an experienced criminal defense attorney. Your attorney may be able to get the case dismissed or have the DWSL charge reduced to driving without a valid driver's license (NVDL).
Consequences Of Driving With A Suspended License
The first time you're convicted of driving with a revoked or suspended license, the offense is considered a second-degree misdemeanor. You could spend up to 60 days in jail and have to pay a fine up to $500.
A second DWSL conviction is considered a first-degree misdemeanor. It carries a maximum 1-year jail sentence and fines up to $1,000.
If you're convicted a third time, the offense is considered a third-degree felony. The felony will appear on your permanent record. You may also have to spend up to five years in jail and pay up to $5,000 in fines.
And it gets worse...
On Becoming A Habitual Traffic Offender
Three DWSL convictions within a 5-year period makes you a habitual traffic offender (HTO). This is a serious matter. HTO status in Florida can result in your driver's license being revoked for five years. During that time, you'll be prohibited from operating a vehicle.
You may be able to acquire a hardship license that allows you to drive to and from work. But that's where your driving privileges begin and end during the 5-year revocation period.
Why You Should Contact An Orlando Traffic Lawyer
An experienced criminal defense attorney can fight to have the DWSL charge dropped and your case dismissed. Not only will that help you to avoid jail time and fines, but can also keep your record clean.
It may also be possible to reduce the DWSL charge to a NVDL. This is important because NVDL convictions do not count as strikes toward being labeled a habitual traffic offender.
In the event you've already been convicted of a DWSL violation, your attorney can pursue having the conviction vacated.
Getting caught driving with a suspended license can have a long-lasting impact on your driving privileges, your financial stability, and your freedom. If you've been charged with DWSL, contact the criminal defense attorneys at Skubiak & Rivas. We'll evaluate your case and if retained, aggressively protect your rights. Call us at 407-894-4449 or complete this online form for a free consultation.