Eric J. Dirga, P.A.

A Florida Trial Attorney

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What Happens If Caught Driving On Suspended License

Driving With A Suspended License

Information provided by Eric J. Dirga, P.A., Orlando - Statewide Representation

Last Updated: June 2, 2016

Nothing good happens when you drive with a suspended driver's license [DWLS]. When you get caught the bad just keeps on coming. If you get a Driving With A Suspended License citation, do not treat it like a normal ticket. You should consider obtaining speaking with an attorney.

Two Types Of Driving With A Suspended License Tickets

With or Without Knowledge

The first thing to understand is that a citation for driving with a suspended driver's license comes in two forms. The first is driving without knowledge of the suspension. This is a civil traffic infraction and is presented like an ordinary ticket. However, you need to be very careful on how you handle this ticket. Do not just pay it. The second is driving with knowledge your license is suspended. This is a criminal infraction. When this ticket is issued to you the police officer has the option of taking you to jail or giving you a notice to appear (which is usually the ticket itself). You should seek professional legal help whenever you are issued this type of criminal citation. (Read more on how your license became suspended here)

Both types are serious because both can lead to you being designated as an Habitual Traffic Offender. I would suggest that the civil infraction is more insideous than the criminal charge because it is cloaked in benign attire that leads most people into underestimating the damage it can cause.

You Can Go To Jail For Driving With A Suspended License

Yes, you can go to jail for this infraction - even if you didn't know your driver's license was suspended. It is the law enforcement officer that decides whether you had knowledge or not. That may not make sense to you but accept it as fact. The issuance of the criminal citation does not depend on your actual knowledge. It is based on what the law enforcement officer believes (whether true or not).

Going to Jail; Getting Out of Jail

Unless you have a lot of DWLS citations on your driving history you are likely to be released from jail on your own recognicance or a small bond. Your car will probably have been towed. Your driver's license should have been forfeited. If you have a lot of DWLS on your history you will probably have to post a higher bond.

The law enforcement officer has the discretion to not take you to jail and just issue you a criminal citation and require you to appear in court. This happens quite often. Just because you did not go to jail does not mean the charge is any less serious. All it means is the Officer was nice to you.

Repetitive Stops for Driving While License Suspended

If you get caught driving with a suspended license after you have received a DWLS ticket you can expect a trip to the jail. Additionally, your bond may be higher. Moreover, the Driving With A Suspended License offense is a cummulative charge. This means that each additional criminal ticket you receive can be charged at a higher level all the way up to a third degree felony.

How To Check If Your Driver's License Is Suspended

Knowing that there are many ways that your license can be suspended by the State of Florida and that driving with a suspended license can be a crime it becomes imperative to make sure your license is not suspended. Finding out is not hard so long as you can access the internet and know your driver's license number. I explain how on my How To Find Out If Your License Is Suspended page.



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