Driving While Your License Suspended
The State of Florida has a zero tolerance on motorists who drive with a suspended license. As a result of the huge number of people driving on a suspended license, the jails and prisons of Florida are jam packed with individuals who ended up doing time because of the snowball effective of not getting a valid license. In Florida, there are two types of suspended license cases; one is a moving violation and the other one is a criminal charge. The difference between the two is whether the officer had probable cause to believe that you KNEW your license was suspended.
Florida statute 322.34(2) (a) states that a motorist driving on the streets and highways of the State of Florida whose license is suspended without their knowledge shall be charged with unknowingly driving on a suspended license. Pursuant to Florida statute 318.14 that is a 3 point moving violation and is treated as non-criminal according to the statute. However, payment of that citation without a court fight or an election of traffic school will result in an adjudication or conviction for purposes of the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. That major violation could result in you being classified as a habitual traffic offender if you acquire two more within a 5 year period.
Florida statute 322.34 (2) (b) is categorized as a criminal driving while license suspended. That means that an individual must have been driving and while driving they knew their license was suspended. The element of knowledge is usually the big issue on these driving charges because a police officer may run the driving record and see that notice was allegedly sent but in reality the motorist never received the letter from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.
The last type of driving while license suspended is referred to as a habitual traffic offender revocation. According to Florida Statute 322.34(5) a habitual traffic offender has accumulated three major violations in a five year period OR has acquired 15 moving violations for which points may be assessed. This statute does not have an element of knowledge; meaning that the person was driving and their license was suspended is enough to prove up the crime. Depending on the nature of the driving history and the reason for the HTO, you can be charged with a third-degree felony. A third degree felony has a possible penalty of up to 5 years in the Florida Department of Corrections.
In certain circumstances, depending on the reason for the revocation, we might be able to go back and undo that 5 year HTO revocation and get you a valid license. Call our office today at 941-444-4444 and discuss your driving situation with an experienced attorney.