In Florida, the crime of driving while license is suspended, revoked, canceled or disqualified is governed by Florida Statute § 322.34. Any person who knowingly operates a motor vehicle upon the streets or highways of the State while having a canceled, suspended or revoked driver’s license is guilty of a moving violation. If a person does not know that his/her license is suspended they may receive a civil citation rather than a criminal charge. The requirement that the person know about the suspended license is satisfied either by the individual admitting that she knew her license was suspended; a prior recent citation or charge for driving on a suspended license, or by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles showing proof that notice of suspension was sent to the driver’s last known registered address.
If you have been charged with driving with a suspended license or a revoked license in Gainesville, it’s important that you contact an experienced criminal defense attorney in Florida, such as those with Silverman and Mack, LLC. We will discuss your case and the optimal course of actions while protecting your rights.
Common Causes Of License Suspension & Revocation
Driver’s licenses can be suspended or revoked for a number of different reasons in Florida including the following causes. For more information about charges associated with license suspensions and revocations, contact a Gainesville attorney for a free consultation.
- Failure to renew an expired driver’s license
- Point suspensions for excessive moving violations
- Non-payment of court fees and/or fines
- Convictions of petit theft
What Is The Difference Between License Suspension & Revocation?
A driver’s license suspension is not permanent — in most cases, a suspended license can become active within an amount of time specified by the court. In other cases, individuals with a suspended license only have to take certain actions, to reinstate his or her driving privileges, such as pay the due amount on lapsed automobile insurance and provide proof to the Department of Motor Vehicles. A revoked driver’s license can permanently disable driving privileges. If your license has been revoked, you must apply for either a fill or partial reinstatement of your driving privileges with the DMV. This is often a long and arduous process that involves an investigation into your case conducted by the DMV.
What Are The Penalties To Driving With A Suspended Or Revoked License?
A first conviction for driving with a suspended or revoked license is a second-degree misdemeanor and is punishable by up to 60 days in jail, 6 months of probation, and/or a $500 fine. Courts often require the defendant to return to court with a valid driver’s license within a set amount of time. A second conviction for driving on a suspended or revoked license is a first-degree misdemeanor and is punishable by up to one year in jail, one year of probation and/or a $1,000 fine.
A third or subsequent offense can be a third-degree felony, which is punishable by up to five years in prison, five years of probation and/or a $5,000 fine. Driving prior to obtaining a license is the crime of No Valid Driver’s License. Driving without first obtaining a valid driver’s license is a second-degree misdemeanor and is punishable by up to 60 days in jail, 6 months of probation and/or a $500 fine.
What Is A Habitual Traffic Offender?
Depending on the dates of prior convictions, a third or subsequent violation can also result in a five-year revocation of the driver’s license due to the defendant’s classification of a habitual traffic offender. Driving under a habitual traffic offender suspension is a third-degree felony. Florida Statute § 322.03 defines a habitual traffic offender as “any person whose record, as maintained by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, shows that such person has accumulated the specified number of convictions for offenses described in subsection (1) or subsection (2) within a 5-year period.” Subsections of this statute include the following crimes.
- Committing a felony while using a motor vehicle
- Driving a motor vehicle with a suspended or revoked license
- Voluntary or involuntary manslaughter from operating a motor vehicle
- Failing to stop and provide aid to motor vehicle crash victims
- Fifteen convictions for moving traffic offenses
- Driving a commercial motor vehicle with disqualified privilege