Driving while License Suspended or Revoked (DWLSR) is one of the most frequent criminal charges prosecuted in the Florida state courts. Section 322.34, Florida Statutes allows for an individual to be charged either criminally or by means of civil traffic citation for driving while License Suspended, Revoked, Canceled, or Disqualified. Whether one is charged criminally or by means of a civil traffic citation depends on whether that individual had knowledge of the suspension or in alternative, was driving their motor vehicle without knowledge.
The criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Germain & McCarthy, LLC, whose home office is located in the city of Melbourne, in Brevard County, represent clients who are arrested or ticketed for Driving while License Suspended or Revoked (DWLSR) throughout the state of Florida, including the cities and towns of Melbourne, Satellite Beach, Merritt Island, Titusville, Viera, Cape Canaveral, Cocoa, Cocoa Beach, Indialantic, Indian Harbour Beach, Melbourne Beach, West Melbourne, Palm Bay, Orlando, Jacksonville, Tampa, and Rockledge.
If knowledge of the suspension is alleged, an individual will normally be charged criminally pursuant to Florida Statutes Section 322.34(2). If knowledge of the suspension is not being alleged, normally the law enforcement officer will write the driver a civil traffic citation for violation of Florida Statutes, Section 322.34(1).
When one is criminally charged, that individual faces jail time and possibly prison time if they are sentenced. In the alternative, when an individual receives a civil traffic citation for Driving on a Suspended License Without Knowledge, though the potential punishment does not carry the possibility of jail or prison time, the effects of such a traffic citation can be devastating.
Most individuals dismiss the fact that they have received a civil citation for Driving While License Suspended, Revoked, Canceled, or Disqualified, Without Knowledge, as being a minor offense without the possibility of having serious effect on their lives. What these individuals do not know is that such a citation can result in serious hardships such as the accumulation of points against their driving record and/or an immediate increase in insurance rates.
Whether one is charged criminally or via a civil citation for Driving while License Suspended or Revoked, both such offenses can be counted as one of three allowed strikes against an individual toward becoming classified as a Habitual Traffic Offender pursuant to Florida Statutes, Section 322.264.
Once classified as a habitual traffic offender, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles has the authority to suspend an individual's license for a period of five (5) years pursuant to Florida Statutes, Section 322.264.
If you have been classified as a Habitual Traffic Offender, or if your license has been suspended for any reason at all, there are likely remedies available that may allow you to set aside the suspension of your license. Contact one of the attorneys at the Law Offices of Germain & McCarthy, LLC as soon as possible so that we can discuss the possibility of filing post-conviction motions on your behalf. Please keep in mind that time is of the greatest importance as most post-conviction motions must be filed within a specified time period or the chance to be heard and the remedy sought can be lost forever.
If you have not yet been classified as a Habitual Traffic Offender but are facing either traffic citations or criminal charges of Driving While License Suspended, Revoked, Canceled, or Disqualified, it is imperative that you consult an attorney before paying a fine, attending court, or taking any action on your own. A lack of understanding of the law could result in your privilege to drive being taken from you in the future. Contact us so that we can help you protect your privilege to drive and your due process rights.
Section 322.34 Driving while license suspended, revoked, canceled, or disqualified.
In Florida, a driver’s license can be suspended or revoked for a variety of reasons such as:
Florida Law provides that three or more Driving while License Suspended or Revoked (DWLSR) charges taking place within five (5) years of one another will result in the driver being labeled a habitual traffic offender. Even a civil traffic infraction for driving while license suspended without knowledge will count towards the three strikes (unless you go to court and are successful in convincing the court to withhold adjudication). Many people simply pay the ticket for driving while license suspended without knowledge and do not realize it counts towards the HTO revocation.
A habitual traffic offender sentence carries a mandatory five (5) year loss of driver’s license rights. Additionally, if you are caught driving again as an HTO, you may also be convicted of a 3rd-degree felony, carrying a maximum prison sentence of five (5) years, or five thousand dollars ($5,000) fine, and/or five (5) years probation.
It is a 2nd-degree misdemeanor criminal offense to operate a vehicle in Florida without a valid driver's license. Any 2nd-degree misdemeanor is punishable by up to 60 days in imprisonment and $500 in fines and fees. Florida Statutes Section 322.02. governs the criminal offense of driving with no valid driver's license in the State of Florida.
In many cases, it is better to convince the prosecutor to reduce the charge of driving while license with knowledge to the charge of "no valid driver's license." The main reason why reducing the charges is important is because the charge of no valid driver's license does not count towards the HTO revocation.
If you have been charged with driving with no valid or suspended license, then contact a traffic offense attorney with The Law Offices of Germain & McCarthy, LLC. Call (321) 253-3447 today or submit your case details in our online form. Our Melbourne Traffic Offense attorneys represent clients in Brevard County, Volusia County, Seminole County, Orange County, Osceola County, and Indian River County, FL.