Driving with a suspended license in Ft. Lauderdale used to be a criminal offense until the courts made a designation within that statute stating that, in order for that offense to be criminal in nature, an individual must have known that their driver’s license was suspended at the time in order to receive a criminal charge or criminal violation.
For individuals that did not know their license was suspended or in situations where the government could not prove that the individual had knowledge that their driver’s license was suspended, during that 20-day grace period they would receive a civil traffic infraction for driving with a suspended license without knowledge. For those who received proper notification or have had prior offenses, they would receive a criminal charge of driving with a suspended license with knowledge. To learn more about driving with a suspended license in Ft. Lauderdale, consult a knowledgeable traffic attorney who could answer your questions.
What Leads to a Driving With a Suspended License Charge
Drivers are often charged with driving with a suspended license in Ft. Lauderdale because they have had their license suspended for civil, non-criminal traffic infractions without their knowledge. However, driving with a suspended license with knowledge for a first offense is considered a misdemeanor punishable for up to 364 days in the county jail. Individuals who are facing habitual traffic offender designation could be facing a third-degree felony charge for driving on a suspended license which is punishable for up to five years in Florida State Prison.
When Do Drivers Have to Go to Court?
Any criminal charge or driving on a suspended license requires a mandatory court appearance, either by the individual who is cited or their lawyer and sometimes both if it is required by the judge. Civil infractions, non-criminal infractions, or driving on a suspended license without knowledge do not require a court appearance, but any traffic violation should go to court whether an individual has an attorney or not.
Prosecution in Suspended License Cases
In a civil infraction, there is no prosecutor because it is a non-criminal case. A criminal case involving a misdemeanor or felony will be prosecuted by an Assistant State Attorney in one of the four courthouses in Broward County (Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood, Deerfield Beach or Plantation). In cases involving driving with a suspended license, there are felonies that will be prosecuted by an Assistant State Attorney in the Felony Division in Circuit Court, and all of the felony cases in Fort Lauderdale are handled at the main courthouse in Fort Lauderdale.
Penalties For Driving With a Suspended License
Most drivers do not go to jail for driving with a suspended license, but they could long periods of probation and a felony conviction if they are found guilty. Even if a civil infraction for driving with a suspended license without knowledge is not handled properly, even though that charge is not criminal, it can be used as a qualifier against them and the Department of Motor Vehicles can classify them as a habitual traffic offender. If an individual in Ft. Lauderdale is caught driving on a suspended license, they will need to hire an experienced defense attorney in Ft. Lauderdale to make sure that the case is handled properly and that they do not run into situations where they have too many offenses over a five-year period to cause a habitual label on their driver’s license.
The Value of Working With a Traffic Attorney
Driving with a suspended license in Ft. Lauderdale can have serious consequences and aggravate any charges that you already face. It is always a good idea to have an attorney represent you if you are facing any of these charges. Your lawyer could try to mitigate your penalties so that your charge is reduced to a non-qualifying offense that cannot be used against you in the future. To learn more, speak with a skilled traffic attorney who could advocate for you.