The state of Florida is quite serious about its highway laws and ensuring that drivers abide by them. If you are caught driving with a suspended license in St. Petersburg, you may face hefty fines and jail time. The first moment you have after you are pulled over and informed you were driving without a license, you’ll want to call the law office of Goldman Wetzel at 727-828-3900. Our staff will schedule a consultation for you with one of our esteemed attorneys.
Common Reasons Why a License is Suspended
There are numerous reasons a license can be suspended, from criminal charges to merely forgetting to renew tags. Below are some of the most common reasons the state revokes or suspends Florida drivers’ licenses.
- Driving while intoxicated charges
- Failing to pay traffic tickets
- Accruing too many points on your license
- Letting your tag expire
- Failing to appear on a traffic summons
- Drug-related convictions
- Inadequate vision
- Failure to pay child support
Charges for Driving with a Suspended License
Florida Statutes 322.34 details the charges and penalties for driving with a suspended license. The penalty depends on how many prior offenses you have.
- First offense — The first time you are caught driving with a canceled, suspended or revoked license, it’s considered a second-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine.
- Second offense — The second offense is classified as a first-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine.
- Third offense — Third and subsequent offenses are considered third-degree felonies, punishable by five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
Defenses for Driving with a Suspended License Charges
Our attorneys at Goldman Wetzel have handled all types of traffic-related charges. We’ve found that many people simply were not aware of that their license was suspended. Florida Statutes 322.34(2) states: “Any person whose driver license or driving privilege has been canceled, suspended, or revoked as provided by law… who, knowing of such cancellation, suspension, or revocation, drives any motor vehicle upon the highways of this state while such license or privilege is canceled, suspended, or revoked…” is guilty of a crime.
Note the word “knowing” in the above law. If you didn’t know that your license was suspended – which is often the case due to department clerical mistakes and lost mail notices — you shouldn’t be charged. If this is the case, we will use this defense to fight to have the charges dropped.
Below are a few examples of other viable defenses we may use:
- The traffic stop was invalid.
- You were not driving or were not driving on a public highway.
- You were driving something that’s not technically considered a vehicle and that didn’t require a Florida drivers’ license, e.g., a DUI scooter.
- You believed your license had been reinstated.
With some cases, the best scenario is to have us work with the prosecution to have the charges reduced. It might be possible to have the state agree to reduce the charges to No Valid Florida Driver’s License or to a civil citation. This is an option worth pursuing because it can reduce penalties drastically.
Avoiding Jail Time for Driving with a Suspended License
When you enlist our help for charges of driving with a suspended license, it’s our primary aim to help mitigate the charges and fight on your behalf so that you can avoid jail time and other penalties. Contact Goldman Wetzel today at 727-828-3900 for the quality legal help you need from our defense attorneys.