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Proof of Felony DWLS; Case Law

Court Decisions on Matters of Proof

Legal Opinions From The Florida Supreme Court And The District Courts Of Appeal

Last Updated: June 2, 2016

This page contains case law regarding the evidentiary proof needed to enhance a driving with a suspended driver's license charge from a second degree misdemeanor to a first degree misdemeanor or third degree felony offense.

Proof Of Felony DWLS

Bruce v. State, 993 So.2d 155 (Fla. 1st DCA 2008): Defendant is allowed to challenge a guilty plea to Felony-DWLS when, after the fact, it was determined that the prerequisite offenses were pre-1997 when there was not element of knowledge.

Stutts v. State, 821 So.2d 449 (Fla. 1st DCA 2002): For out-of-state DWLSR convictions to serve as prior convictions for purposes of subsection 322.34(2), the elements of the out-of-state law must be substantially similar to the Florida statute.

Garrett v. State, 803 So.2d 801 (Fla. 2d DCA 2001): Concluding that a computerized driving record is insufficient proof of the prior offense required to convict a defendant of the felony offense of driving while license suspended.

Garcia v. State, 800 So.2d 725 (Fla. 2d DCA 2001): When prior convictions constitute an element of a charged crime, the prior convictions must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt by introduction of certified copies of each judgment.

Badger v. State, 798 So.2d 890 (Fla. 4th DCA 2001): Finding the predicate convictions relied on by the State to enhance the offense to a felony occurred prior to October 1, 1997. The crimes on which those convictions were based, accordingly, did not include the element of knowledge.

Huss v. State, 771 So.2d 591 (Fla. 1st DCA 2000): At the time appellant received the prior convictions, the statute did not require proof of "knowledge" as an element of the offense, and thus, his prior convictions cannot be counted as "convictions" under the 1997 provisions of section 322.34(2). Affirmed, Thompson v. State, 887 So.2d 1260 (Fla. 2004).

Sylvester v. State, 770 So.2d 249 (Fla. 5th DCA 2000): It is not enough that the state introduce the driving record if it plans to enhance a defendant's punishment; the state must prove that the defendant has been convicted of each crime that is used to enhance the defendant's punishment. The state must prove the prior convictions and link the defendant to the convictions.

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