Driving on a Suspended License

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Often after a DUI charge, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles will suspend a person's driver license for a period of time. Typically, the suspension will last from 180 days to 1 year, unless your previous offense was within 5 years. In those cases, the suspension would be for 5 years (with no possibility of a hardship license after the 4th DUI). However, people find it difficult to get from place to place without a car, particularly if they live far from their job. If they can't get a hardship license, they might risk driving carefully to and from their destination, hoping they don't get pulled over. But, what happens when they do?

Penalties

If someone is caught driving with a suspended license for the 1st time, he or she could face 60 days in jail and a fine of up to $500. A 2nd offense is a 1st-degree misdemeanor, which means they could get 1 year in jail. A 3rd offense could result in felony charges, which might mean 5 years in prison and a fine of up to a $5,000 fine.

Habitual Traffic Offender

Driving without a license has the most severe consequences if someone repeatedly commits the crime. For those who commit a 3rd offense, and the previous 2 offenses occurred within 5 years, they could be labeled Habitual Traffic Offenders. This status can result in a 5-year license revocation with no possibility of getting a hardship license until a full year has passed since their most recent conviction.

Defenses

There are many ways an attorney could defend your case. Our excellent St. Petersburg DUI lawyer could use some of the following arguments:

  • The traffic stop wasn't valid
  • The defendant was not driving
  • The Department of Motor Vehicles did not send the defendant notice of the suspension
  • The defendant was not driving on a roadway open to the public
  • The vehicle is not a "motor vehicle" for purposes of the driver license statute
  • The defendant's license has been reinstated

If there are no valid defenses available, a lawyer may seek to change the charge to No Valid Florida Driver's License or, in some cases, to a civil citation. Amending the charge could lessen the penalties immensely.

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Our firm has more than 25 years of criminal law experience. Contact us at {F:P:Site:Phone} or by filling out our online form for a free case evaluation. Timothy Hessinger is a former 15 year prosecutor, so he knows how to navigate both sides of the courtroom. Trust him with your case.

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