Florida is cracking down on drivers! 600,000 people in Miami-Dade County are driving with a suspended license. Some of them are not aware of it, but they face significant charges if they get pulled over.
After a DUI arrest, you may have a lot on your plate. Getting arrested for driving with a suspended license will make your problems worse. But before you call a lawyer, you need to get the facts about suspended license crimes.
What are the penalties for driving with a suspended license? What are other consequences you may face? How can you defend yourself and avoid jail time?
Answer these questions and you can clear your name of suspended license charges. Here is your quick guide.
Florida Suspended License Laws
All drivers convicted of a DUI have their licenses suspended. A first-time conviction leads to a suspension of up to one year. A second-time conviction can create a suspension of five years while a third-time offense can lead to a 10-year suspension.
Section 322.34 of the 2022 Florida Statutes provides Florida’s laws on driving with a suspended license. A first-time offense of driving with a suspended license is a second-degree misdemeanor. But, a second-time offense and other subsequent offenses are first-degree misdemeanors.
A third-time offense carries a mandatory prison sentence of 10 days, though a judge can extend it further. Driving for the third time with a suspended license due to a DUI is a third-degree felony.
Second-degree misdemeanors can lead to a prison sentence of up to 60 days. First-degree misdemeanors can lead to a one-year prison sentence, and third-degree felonies can result in a five-year sentence.
You may be able to qualify for probation and community service instead of imprisonment. But prosecutors take driving with a suspended license seriously, especially if the license was suspended for a DUI. You may need to plead guilty to charges and waive your right to a trial.
Imprisonment may be the largest consequence of driving on a suspended license. But it is by no means the only one. You face other difficulties that you must know about before you launch a defense.
Reckless driving occurs whenever a driver operates a vehicle with disregard for other people’s safety. Many drivers are pulled over for reckless driving, only for the police to discover they have a suspended license.
You will receive a reckless driving charge if you were speeding or made an improper turn. In addition to the jail time you face for driving with a suspended license, you can go to jail for up to 90 days for a first offense.
If you were drunk driving with a suspended license, you will receive a DWI charge. You can also get a DWI charge if you have prescription drugs in your system that impair your driving. A second conviction can result in a prison sentence of one year.
Some insurance companies cancel the policies for drivers convicted of DUIs. The ones that don’t increase their premiums, making it harder for drivers to pay for insurance. Increases vary, but some companies jack up the prices by a few hundred dollars a month.
Ignition Interlock Devices
When you do get your license back, you may need an ignition interlock device on your vehicle. You must provide a breath sample in order to turn your engine on. If the device detects a high level of alcohol, the car will not start.
You are responsible for paying for and maintaining your device. You need to attend appointments to hand over the results from your device. The device may be on your car for a year or longer.
A conviction for a DUI creates a criminal record. Many employers conduct background checks on applicants that include looking at criminal records. You may be denied job opportunities just for your DUI arrest.
A conviction for driving with a suspended license can make your problems even worse. It suggests you have a pattern of misconduct, which can diminish your job opportunities.
A defense on suspended license charges can be very difficult. If you’re arrested for driving on a suspended license, you should invoke your right against self-incrimination. Do not tell the police anything besides your name and ask for a lawyer to be with you.
A police officer may have seen you behind the wheel, but your car may not have been on. If you can prove that the car was off, you may be exonerated at trial. You can use surveillance tapes and your testimony to prove that your car was not running.
You can dispute the circumstances of your arrest. If the officer pulled you over for reckless driving, you can use evidence to show you were not driving recklessly. This may allow you to assert that any evidence from your arrest cannot be used in the trial.
Mitigating circumstances lessen your culpability. You can point out that you needed to drive someone to the hospital or you were driving to escape an emergency. These circumstances can diminish your sentence, though you may be found guilty.
The Essentials of Suspended License Charges
Driving with a suspended license is no light matter. Even if you weren’t charged with a DUI, you face prison time for a first-time offense. Subsequent charges can lead to long sentences as well as extended suspension periods.
You may face other charges, and you will have a criminal record that others can access. You should gather evidence and fight to clear your name of charges or produce mitigating factors for your arrest.
The easiest way to defend yourself is with a lawyer’s guidance. RHINO Lawyers serves all Florida residents. Contact us today.
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