Driving privileges in Florida may be suspended or revoked for any number of reasons. Being caught driving with a suspended license only multiplies the legal consequences for the driver. If you were charged with driving with a revoked or disqualified driver’s license, then you may need the assistance of a traffic attorney from Ferrer Shane Gonzalez.
Is It Illegal To Drive With a Suspended License in Florida?
When a driver’s license is suspended in Florida, it means that they can no longer legally get behind the wheel. Accordingly, the driver may be charged with a crime.
A suspension period may last for as few as 30 days or indefinitely. Licenses are typically revoked for a minimum period of five years, though the term may be longer or even permanent depending upon the infraction that caused the revocation.
If the driver was not aware of the suspension of their Florida license at the time the police pull them over, then this may be treated as a civil traffic infraction. However, that is only the case if the officer who pulls the driver over actually believes that the driver did not know that their license was suspended. If the officer thinks that the driver did know about the suspension, then this will be charged as a criminal infraction. This may be charged at either the misdemeanor or felony level, depending upon several factors that may include the severity of the infraction that led to the suspension and whether or not the driver is a repeat offender.
Consequences of Driving With a Suspended License In Florida
State law says that a first conviction for driving with an invalid license may be punished by a fine of as much as $500 and no more than 60 days in jail. A second conviction may include a fine of as much as $1,000 and no more than one year in jail. Both of these are considered misdemeanor offenses. A third or additional conviction is a felony that may involve a fine of as much as $5,000 and no more than five years in prison.
Driving after the revocation of a license is even more serious. People who drive on a revoked license in Florida may be charged with a felony that involves penalties such as five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. Other consequences also may be pursued by the State.
Anyone who is caught driving without a valid license in Florida may have their car impounded. It also is likely that they will be arrested on the spot and taken to the police station. Unless the driver already has citations for driving without a license, they will quickly be released with a minimal bond or on their own recognizance. Just because a driver gets pulled over and the officer discovers that they don’t have a valid license doesn’t mean that they are going to jail. This is largely up to the discretion of the officer. If you get pulled over and don’t have a license, it’s best to be polite, respectful and cooperative to minimize the consequences as much as possible.
Drivers who are unsure about the status of their license can check it at the website of the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.
Options After Citation or Arrest
If your license is suspended and you must drive, then you may apply for a conditional or hardship license. Several eligibility requirements must be met before the conditional license will be given. It similarly may be possible to petition to have the license reinstated. Judges do have the power to cancel or modify suspensions, but these can be difficult to obtain without a traffic attorney.
It is possible to simply pay the fines associated with charges for driving with a license that’s suspended. However, it is rarely in the driver’s best interest to do so. It is far more advisable to hire a lawyer to represent your rights.
Hire a Florida Ticket Attorney
The practitioners at Ferrer Shane Gonzalez have considerable experience when it comes to protecting clients from charges of driving while a license is suspended. Contact them today to learn more about your options.