Driving While License Suspended (DWLS)
It is a criminal offense to knowingly operate a motor vehicle with a suspended driver’s license. If you have a suspended driver’s license, contact a Florida criminal defense attorney familiar with Pinellas County right away to see about getting the suspension lifted. If you have already received a citation for driving while license suspended, there are still ways to mitigate the damage. Contact a criminal defense attorney right away to find out your options.
St. Petersburg Suspended License Defense Attorney
Melinda Morris is a former Pinellas County assistant district attorney. Due to her experience as a prosecutor, she has inside knowledge on how prosecutors build their cases in Pinellas County. By hiring the attorney at the Morris Law Firm, P.A., you are getting an experienced and knowledgeable criminal traffic offenses defense attorney. Contact the Morris Law Firm, P.A. at (727) 388-4736 for a consultation about your driving while license suspended case.
Driving While License Suspended Laws
The driving while license suspended law is found in Florida statute 322.34. There are actually two parts to the statute:
Driving While License Suspended
- Under Florida law, the individual whose driver’s license or driving privilege has been revoked yet continues to drive without a valid license is guilty of driving while their license is suspended. Under this section, the person does not have knowledge that their license has been revoked.
Knowingly Driving While License Suspended
- Under Florida law, if someone knowingly continues to drive without a valid license, that person is guilty of driving while their license is suspended.
The court will deem that a person had knowledge of the driver’s license suspension if the prosecutors can prove:
- The defendant admitted that he or she knew the license was suspended.
- The defendant received notice that the license was suspended.
- The court records show that the license would be suspended as a consequence of the defendant’s failure to take care of an unrelated traffic offense.
The penalties are slightly different if you knowingly drove with a suspended license than if you didn’t know your license was suspended.
Penalties for driving while license suspended
Usually the punishments for driving with a suspended license stay in the misdemeanor category, but repeated violations can rise to felony level punishments.
- First conviction for driving while license suspended:
- Second-degree misdemeanor punishable by a jail sentence of not more than 60 days.
- Second conviction for driving while license suspended:
- First-degree misdemeanor punishable by a jail sentence of not more than one year.
- Third conviction for driving while license suspended:
- Third-degree felony punishable by a jail sentence not to exceed 5 years if previously convicted of a forcible felony
- If there is no prior conviction of a forcible felony, then the 3rd offense is also a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by not more than one year in jail.
Why was my license suspended?
There are many different kinds of traffic violations that can result in your license being suspended. It is important to collect any citations you have received and bring them to an experienced criminal defense attorney. Only a criminal defense attorney can go over your criminal history and determine why your license was suspended. In general, your license can be suspended for the following reasons:
- A court order revoking your license due to outstanding traffic offenses
- A conviction for vehicular manslaughter
- A conviction for possessing a controlled substance
- A conviction for prostitution involving a car
- A failed driving test
- Medical conditions such as seizures that are not controlled enough to enable you to safely drive a car
- A perjury conviction in civil court
- A conviction for fleeing the scene after a car accident that resulted either in injury or death
A criminal defense attorney may help you resolve the underlining cause for your license suspension. In most cases, if you can take care of the conviction or pay the fine, the license can be reinstated. You must talk to a Florida criminal defense attorney familiar with the legal system in Pinellas County. Once you tell the criminal defense attorney the facts of your case, then you can work on coming up with a solution to your driving while license suspended allegation.
Morris Law Firm, P.A. | St. Petersburg DWLS Defense Attorney
The Morris Law Firm, P.A. is committed to representing persons who are faced with driving while license suspended charges. If you are accused of driving while your license is suspended in Pinellas County or St. Petersburg, contact the Morris Law Firm, P.A.. Talk with an experienced Pinellas traffic attorney. Our goal is to protect your constitutional rights and defend your case to obtain the lowest possible punishments.