Once upon a time, it was easy to think that it was “other people” who got their driver’s license suspended or revoked. But then life happened, and now it’s you who has no license. But you have to go to work. You have to run errands. You have no one else to rely on.
What would happen if you risk it? In a nutshell, you’d be committing a crime.
What are some of the reasons a driver’s license could get suspended?
There are plenty. You could’ve been arrested for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol (DUI). You could’ve fallen behind on Child Support payments, or failed to appear in Court for another issue. Or maybe you regularly “forgot” to pay traffic tickets, or have too many points on your driving record.
What are the consequences of driving with a suspended license in Florida?
In typical attorney fashion, our answer is: it depends. Is this the first time you’d be driving without a license? Did you even know your license was suspended?
Section 322.34 of the Florida Statutes establishes different consequences depending on how many times a person has gotten caught:
For the first time, you’d be charged with a misdemeanor. You’d also get a fine of up to $500.00, and you’d be facing up to 60 days in jail.
For the second time, it’s still a misdemeanor, but you’d be facing up to a year in jail.
The third time, you’d be charged with a felony, which means real prison time: up to five years wearing that orange jumpsuit, and a hefty fine of up to $5,000.00. Good luck finding a job after that.
What if I didn’t know my driver’s license was suspended?
Although a person could honestly not know that their license was suspended, it’s an uphill battle to prove so in court. This is because licenses don’t get suddenly suspended or revoked overnight.
For example, if you fall behind on Child Support payments, you’d first receive a notice stating so, and giving you a chance to to pay for the missed payments. If you fail to do so, you’d then get a notification of suspension.
Likewise, if you had a previously scheduled court appearance, the same would’ve included a warning indicating that a failure to appear could result in a suspension of your driver’s license.
And so on, and so forth. If notice was mailed to you, there is a rebuttable presumption that you received it.
For how long does a driver’s license suspension last?
It depends on why it was suspended in the first place. Typically, the range varies from 30 days to a year. If it was revoked, it could be up to 5 years, or maybe even indefinitely.
What if I need to drive to work and to comply with other responsibilities?
You could apply for a Florida Hardship License. But before you start celebrating, know that only certain individuals qualify for it. The reason for the suspension had to be related to either accumulating too many points on your driving record, being a habitual traffic offender, or a traffic violation that resulted in death or serious bodily injury.
Contact the Car Accident Lawyer at Clark Law for a Free Consultation
As you can see, there are many variables that could affect the outcome of your specific case. At Clark Law, we’ll study closely all of your circumstances to determine whether you have any viable defenses, whether there are any mitigating factors, or if you can file an appeal. Contact us and let us help you get out of this mess.