Driving with a suspended license in Florida puts you at serious risk. The state takes this offense very seriously and can imprison you, even if you didn’t realize your license was suspended. First-time offenders can be sentenced to up to 60 days in jail, in addition to fines.
There are many reasons why your driver’s license may be suspended, including:
- Driving under the influence (DUI)
- Failure to comply with a traffic summons
- Failure to pay a traffic fine
- Committing a violation resulting in serious death or injury
- Fraudulently obtaining a license
- Being behind on child support
- Having inadequate vision
- Being incapable of operating a vehicle safely
While the state may suspend your license for these reasons, it is also possible to obtain a hardship license in some cases. Hardship licenses can be used by a driver with a suspended license for the purpose of commuting to work. Drivers requesting this accommodation will need to pay fees and attend a driving class. These licenses are not available for drivers whose license has been suspended due to DUI or inability to operate a vehicle safely.
There are different penalties and procedures depending on whether an officer believes you knew your license was suspended. Knowledge of a suspended license is usually proven through your own words or through the existence of certain judgments or orders against you. Luckily, if your license was suspended for failure to pay a traffic fine, the government may not be able to show that you know. You can check to see if your license is suspended on the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles website.
Multiple tickets for driving while license suspended (DWLS) can result in increased fines and bail, as well as the possibility of jail time. DWLS tickets also frequently result in having your car impounded. A driver with repeated DWLS offenses is likely to be designated a Habitual Traffic Offender (HTO) by the state. An HTO designation comes with a five-year license suspension. There is no possibility of receiving a hardship driver’s license during the first year of this punishment.
The Florida criminal defense attorneys at Largey Law encourage you to never drive without a license. If your license is suspended, you should try to obtain a hardship driver’s license. If you cannot obtain one, you cannot drive without putting your freedom in jeopardy. However, if you have been charged with DWLS, there is still hope. Contact us online to set up a free initial consultation.