Many people with a revoked or suspended license claim that they need to keep driving. They need to drive to work, they need to get groceries for their kids, they need to go to the doctor, etc. While these things are certainly necessary tasks in our daily lives, understanding the consequences associated with driving on a suspended or revoked license will make you think twice about running even these quickest errands.
License Suspension 101
The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) can suspend your license for a number of reasons, including, but not limited to, failure to pay traffic fines, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, failure to pay child support, and accumulating too many traffic violation points. The FLHSMV may send you a letter informing you of your suspension or your license can be suspended by court order. At this point, you no longer have the privilege to drive a vehicle and operating a vehicle with knowledge your license is suspended is a crime under Florida law.
Besides the obvious hardships associated with loss of driving privileges, having your license suspended can wreak havoc on many other aspects of your life. This ticket can cost you significant amounts of money in insurance increases for years to come and will haunt your criminal record. The charge also puts you at greater risk of later being designated a “habitual traffic offender” in the state of Florida, which is someone who accumulates at least three specified offenses within a five year period. The consequence of becoming a habitual traffic offender is a 5-year minimum mandatory license revocation period.
Driving on a Suspended License
Losing your license is tough, but not as tough as facing a driving on a suspended license charge. In Florida, driving on a suspended license is a second-degree misdemeanor. This means you could be facing up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine. Adding a second offense of driving on a suspended license increases your penalties to up to 1 year in jail and a $1,000 fine, as this is a first-degree misdemeanor.
Even More Dangerous -Driving on a Revoked License as a Habitual Offender
Driving with a license revoked as a habitual offender is a third-degree felony in Florida, which is an extremely serious crime. If convicted, you can face up to 5 years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines. These penalties apply whether the license revocation occurred in Florida or another state.
What You Can Do
It is very possible to fight a charge of driving on a suspended or revoked license. With the offense of driving on a suspended license, the prosecutor must prove that you were aware of the suspension. If you have evidence that you were unaware, like in a situation where you had recently moved and did not receive notice, an attorney can try to fight the charge. With the offense of driving on a revoked license, an attorney can try to fight or mitigate the charge using various other defenses.
If you are currently driving on a suspended or revoked license, or have just been ticketed or arrested on a charge that may open you up to loss of driving privileges, contact the experienced West Palm Beach criminal law attorneys at Farkas & Crowley to discuss how best to protect your rights. Our dedicated team of attorneys can help you avoid more serious consequences down the road.