In Florida, driving while your license is suspended or revoked (DWLSR) is a serious charge. Some states may not consider DWLSR to be a criminal offense. In Florida, DWLSR may be civil or criminal.
DWLS - is a civil infraction if the driver was without knowledge of the suspension. Just because the DWLSR was treated as a civil infraction does not mean there cannot be serious consequences later.
If an individual accumulates three DWLSR in a five year period no matter if they had knowledge of the suspension or not they will be labeled as a Habitual Traffic Offender (HTO) and the Department of Motor Vehicles will suspend their license for five years. Driving while your license is suspended or revoked as a Habitual Traffic Offender is a 3rd degree felony punishable up to 5 years in prison.
DWLSR - with knowledge of the suspension is a criminal offense and requires a mandatory court date even if you were issued just a ticket and not arrested.
- A first offense is a 2nd degree misdemeanor punishable by up to 60 days in jail.
- A second offense is a 1st degree misdemeanor punishable by up to 1 year in jail.
- A third or subsequent offense is a 3rd degree felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison.
The penalties in the beginning may not seem severe but it does not take much to be facing some serious consequences. Just because you paid a fine in the beginning does not mean that will be the outcome the next time. Some judges take driving while license suspended very serious and may require jail or prison time.
So please contact us for a consultation to see what defenses you have.