You must meet a number of conditions in order to obtain a driver’s license in the state of Florida. For example, the state will not issue you a driver’s license unless you are at least 16 years old, have held a learner’s license for at least one year, and have passed certain tests. Most people know about these eligibility requirements, but few are aware that the state can actually suspend or revoke their driving privileges for various reasons.
It is illegal to drive with a suspended or revoked driver’s license. If you have been accused of committing this crime, it’s important to understand your charges, the penalties you could face if you are convicted, and how a Tampa criminal defense attorney can help you fight for your freedom.
When Are Driver’s Licenses Suspended or Revoked in Florida?
There are a number of reasons why a driver’s license might be suspended or revoked in the state of Florida. Some of the most common reasons include:
- Failure to pay a traffic fine
- Failure to comply with or appear at a traffic summons
- Failure to complete court-ordered driver improvement school
- Driving under the influence (DUI)
- Child support delinquency
- Non-DUI related traffic violation that resulted in serious bodily injury or death
- Drug-related criminal offense
- Being a habitual traffic offender
- Too many points on your driving record
The last reason, too many points on your driving record, is one of the most common reasons why driver’s licenses are suspended or revoked in Florida.
Every time you receive a traffic ticket, points are added to your driving record. For example, a speeding ticket will add 3 points to your driving record, whereas reckless driving will add 4 points. These points will remain on your record for a period of at least five years.
If too many points are added to your record within a certain timeframe, your driver’s license will be temporarily suspended as follows:
- 12 points within 12 months: 30-day suspension
- 18 points within 18 months: 3-month suspension
- 24 points within 36 months: one-year suspension
For this reason, it is important to know how many points are on your record so you know whether or not you are at risk of losing your driving privileges.
What is Driving With A Suspended or Revoked License in Florida?
If you choose to drive even though you know your driver’s license has been suspended or revoked, you could face criminal charges. Driving with a suspended or revoked driver’s license is a second degree misdemeanor in Florida, which is punishable by up to six months in jail and $500 in fines.
But if you are a repeat offender, which means you have committed this offense before, you will face more serious charges and penalties. The crime becomes a first degree misdemeanor if you are a repeat offender. If convicted, you could face up to one year in jail and $1,000 in fines. If this is your third or subsequent conviction, you will be ordered to serve at least 10 days in jail.
If this is your third or subsequent conviction, you could face third degree felony charges if your most recent conviction was related to driving with a license that was suspended or revoked as a result of:
- Refusal to submit to a DUI chemical test
- Traffic violation that caused serious bodily injury or death
- Fleeing or eluding
Third degree felonies are punishable by up to five years in prison and $5,000 in fines.
The crime is also charged as a third degree felony if the defendant is a habitual traffic offender. A habitual traffic offender is a driver who has accumulated 15 moving violations over a period of five years or three major violations in five years. Some examples of major moving violations include DUI, manslaughter involving a vehicle, driving with a suspended or revoked license, and leaving the scene of an accident.
How to Beat Driving With A Suspended or Revoked License Charges
The penalties for a conviction for driving with a suspended or revoked license are serious, which is why you need to aggressively fight your charges with the help of an attorney.
There are several different defense strategies that may be used to fight your charges. For instance, your attorney may argue that:
- The traffic stop was illegal, which means the charges must be dismissed.
- You were not actually operating a motor vehicle.
- You did not realize that your driver’s license had been suspended or revoked.
- You thought that your driving privileges had been reinstated.
- You were not driving on a public highway, which means you did not violate the legal statute.
If there are no defense strategies available, it may be possible for your attorney to negotiate to get your charges reduced. This way, you could face lighter penalties and avoid some of the most serious consequences of a conviction for driving with a suspended or revoked license.
Every case is unique, so the strategy that your attorney uses to fight your charges will depend on the details of your case. It’s best to let an experienced attorney review your case to determine the most effective way to fight your charges.
Schedule A Free Consultation With A Criminal Defense Attorney Now
If you are charged with driving with a suspended license, it’s in your best interest to seek legal representation from a skilled criminal defense attorney at Carlson Meissner Hart & Hayslett right away. Since 1971, our team of criminal defense attorneys has proudly represented the accused in the greater Tampa Bay area. We are committed to helping our clients protect their rights and fight for their freedom. Let us work tirelessly to help you reach the best possible outcome in your case.
Call our law firm today to schedule a free consultation regarding your case.