The Driving While License Suspended, DWLS charge can be a criminal offense or a civil infraction in Florida. It depends on weather the officer charged you with knowingly driving while license suspended or unknowingly driving while license suspended. The former carries jail time and both versions carry points on your license.

This document is meant to better inform those charged with DWLS of their options regarding the available defenses in court, and possibly regaining your driving privilege.

Driving While License Suspended, if it is your third offense, is a felony in Florida. One charged with DWLS as a felony is facing up to five years in Prison and a five year driver’s license revocation on top of that!

If it is your first offense, you face either a civil or a criminal misdemeanor. The civil charge results when you unknowingly drove with a suspended license. However, the “one strike” accumulates against you. If you knowingly drove while your license was suspended and are found guilty you are facing up to sixty (60) days in jail and a five hundred dollar fine. Oh yes, and you get that “strike” against you.

Your second offense carries up to a year in jail and a five hundred dollar fine. “Strike three” gets you a five year revocation of your license and may be a felony. You will be labeled an “habitual traffic offender”: HTO, if you are convicted of three driving while license suspended cases, regardless of whether you were jailed or not.

However, all is not lost. There are “valid” defenses in Court to the charge of Driving While License Suspended. The case must also be proven beyond and to the exclusion of all reasonable doubt. That means you have a right to a trial, confrontation of your accuser, and a host of evidentiary rights.

Therefore, there is alot an aggressive traffic criminal defense practitioner can do for you. One thing right off of the bat is get you your license back. You may not have had a license for years because of entanglements in the “legal web” of red tape and lack of money or time to solve problems. These problems turned into a great ordeal that just caved in on you. Not to worry…many judges are understanding and want you to be a legally licensed driver. Why?

A legal driver has insurance, a suspended driver is usually not covered by insurance. A legal driver is safer and more conscious of the rights of others. An unlicensed driver has nothing to lose. A legal driver puts less stress on the legal system, and should be rewarded for his efforts in resolving his license problems prior to trial.

Therefore, my first strategy in these cases is to endeavor to obtain a driver’s license. There are a zillion reasons why a license can be suspended. From an old judgment to a DUI revocation, to an unpaid bunch of tickets. We may be able to consolidate all your cases into a combination that allows us to resolve all of them without permanently tarnishing your record, or causing another suspension.

Maybe you need to work out a payment plan with an attorney for an insurance company that suspended your license, or have a Judge force the attorney to accept a payment plan and un-suspend you. Maybe you need to declare Bankruptcy and wipe out that Judgment all together.

These are all services we offer and have been offering for over ten years at Miami’s Albert Quirantes, Esq. Criminal DUI, Ticket Lawyers law firm. If we need to get you an immediate hardship license, we are equipped to handle the walk in hearing, assuming you legally qualify for one. The point is the best defense to the charge of Driving While License Suspended begins by trying to reinstate a suspended or revoked license.

Then we should explore defenses. The defense of necessity is a valid defense in Florida, and a Jury trial is available if you are facing jail. That allows you and your attorney to explain to a group of folks from the community, why you needed to drive. Many times they are very understanding.

Also, the Prosecutor need to prove certain elements at trial with certified documentation. The State has to prove you knew or were notified about your suspension. That is not an easy thing to do, if your attorney asks for the right documents in the discovery process and they simply don’t provide them. Many times they don’t even have access to the documents proving whether you were noticed or not.

The important thing to know is that a Miami suspended drivers license lawyer who is familiar with this area of law because he or she deals with these evolving issues on a daily basis is in a good position to defend you. It also helps to know the players and be able to predict what a given prosecutor or judge is likely to do when faced with your case.

That is what the suspended license lawyers at our firm are all about. Defending and helping those accused of traffic offenses to make their way through the complex and ever changing legal web.

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Call us now at 305-644-1800.