Driving with a Suspended License (DWLS)
helps people defend against Driving with a Suspended License charges
Many good people find themselves in a catch-22 where their license is suspended for points or for failure pay tickets or other costs and now they don't have any mode of transportation to get to work to make enough money to get their license reinstated. A conviction for Driving with a Suspended License can lead to a further and longer suspension digging you a deeper hole. Even if you license was suspended and you were driving, there may be things that we can do to help you get back on track. Give the experienced Jacksonville criminal defense attorneys of Shorstein, Lasnetski, & Gihon today to discuss your DWLS case.
Driving with a Suspended License is defined in Florida Statute 322.34(2). In order to prove that you were driving with a suspended license, the State must prove:
1. You drove a motor vehicle upon a highway in Florida,
2. At the time, your license or driving privilege was suspended, revoked, or cancelled,
3. At the time, you drove a motor vehicle upon a highway in this state, you knew that your license or driving privilege was suspended, revoked or cancelled.
Whether you knew that your license was suspended is a question for the jury to answer based on the evidence in the case.
The element of knowledge is satisfied if:
- you admit to knowing about the suspension,
- you have previously been cited for DWLS and and your license has not been reinstated,
- you received a citation that contained notification that your license had been suspended
- you make a statement saying that you knew of the suspension.
There is a rebuttable presumption that you had knowledge of the suspension if there is a judgement or order for failure to pay a traffic fine or financial responsibility violation.
2nd Degree Misdemeanor
Up to 60 days in jail
1st Degree Misdemeanor
Up to 1 year in jail
Third or Subsequent Conviction
Up to 5 years in prison
Driving on Revocation for Habitual Traffic Offender
Up to 5 years in Prison
DWLS with Serious Bodily Injury or Death
3rd Degree Felony
Up to 5 years in Prison
First Degree Misdemeanor - up to 1 year in jail
Second or Subsequent Conviction
3rd Degree Felony - up to 5 years in prison
How can you help me?
Courts are inundated with DWLS cases. They typically will work with people to give them time to get their driver's license reinstated. If you license is suspended for lack of payment, we can often obtain additional time for you to raise the funds to pay off your tickets and get a new license. If you do obtain a reinstated license, the State Attorney's Office will often agree to amend the charge to a No Valid Driver's License, which should not result in an additional suspension of your license. This, of course, is dependent on your criminal and traffic record.
If you have a criminal or lengthy traffic record, the State may be seeking jail, or even prison for habitual traffic offenders. We can investigate the case, research legal and factual issues, negotiate with the State to mitigate their offer, and often appear in court on your behalf, so you can go to work and not have to obtain transportation to get to court.
Driving with a suspended license is often difficult to defend. The officer usually pulls the person over as they are driving and the person has usually been provided notice that their license was suspended by the State. However, sometimes people are charged with DWLS but are arrested later and therefore there may be a lack of evidence that the person was the person driving the car. There may also be a viable defense that you did not know your license was suspended. You may also be able to mitigate the case by paying off fines and trying to get your license reinstated. In some cases, we are able to go back and reopen old traffic cases that are causing suspensions, which may allow a person to get their license reinstated.
If you have been arrested or cited for Driving with a Suspended License, it is critical that you contact an experienced criminal defense attorney to protect your rights.
or contact us online.