Driving may be a daily part of your life in Florida, but it is a privilege in the eyes of the law. You do not have an inherent right to drive and must instead secure a license and comply with all Florida laws if you want to operate a motor vehicle in Florida. Maintaining that license is very important. If a police officer stops your vehicle and discovers you do not have a valid driver’s license because the State of Florida suspended it, you could face numerous serious consequences. Driving with a suspended license (DWLS) can lead to criminal charges.
Read on for three important things everyone should know about suspended licenses in Florida.
It is surprisingly easy to lose your license
The State of Florida can suspend your driver’s license for a wide array of different reasons such as driving infractions, failure to have insurance, past-due child support, chapter 893 violations or an arrest for DUI. The state will need to send you written notice of your license suspension. There is a chance you may not receive the notice, especially if you have recently changed your address.
The penalties can be severe
If you get pulled over for a minor traffic infraction, such as not using your turn signal, and it turns out that your license is suspended, the penalties you face will be more significant than a simple ticket.
If this was your first time accused of a DWLS charge, the penalties could include up to 60 days in jail, 6 months of probation, and up to $500 in fines; the charge is a second-degree misdemeanor. A second DWLS offense could lead to one year in jail, 12 months of probation, and up to $1,000 in fines; the charge is a first-degree misdemeanor. A third DWLS offense could lead to five years in prison, 60 months of probation, and up to $5,000 in fines; the charge could be prosecuted as a third-degree felony.
You can defend against the allegations against you
From a delay in mail delivery to a technical mistake by the State, there are many potential defenses available to those accused of driving with a suspended license. Rather than simply accepting the criminal consequences of the allegations made against you, it may be a better option to fight back and protect your driving privileges. Drivers can also sometimes apply for a hardship license so that they can still manage basic life tasks. The Lee Viacava Law Firm can answer your questions.