Driving without a valid driver’s license can lead to serious charges and long-term consequences that correlate with the charge.
Dedicated representation from an experienced traffic attorney becomes invaluable in situations where a driver has been charged with an offense involving a revoked, suspended or otherwise invalid or missing license. A Ft. Lauderdale unlicensed driving lawyer will know the steps to take to work toward the best possible resolution.
Different Types of Unlicensed Driving Offenses
In Florida, driving without a license can mean a number of different things. It might refer to a situation where drivers with a valid license are stopped while driving without physically having the license in their possession. If a Ft Lauderdale attorney can later show proof of having a valid license, we can argue for dismissal or, alternatively, a minor court fee.
If a driver is found to be driving with an expired license for less than six months, the driver can be assessed a fine for the infraction but will not face criminal charges.
However, in a situation where a driver either never obtained a license or has a license that has been expired for more than six months while driving on a highway violates Section 322.03 of the Florida statutes, which is a second-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to $500 in fines and up to 60 days in jail.
Moreover, if a driver is found to be driving with a license that has been suspended, revoked, or cancelled, the offense becomes more serious. It is usually treated as a crime if the driver had knowledge of the suspension and is even classified as a felony in certain circumstances.
Reasons for License Suspensions
Drivers have their licenses suspended for many reasons. Some of the more common reasons that an attorney focused on unlicensed driving will take into account include:
- Failure to comply with a traffic summons
- Failure to complete court-ordered school
- Failure to pay court fees
- Suspensions resulting from a DUI arrest or conviction
- Being declared a Habitual Traffic Offender
- Violation resulting in death or serious injury
- Accumulation of excessive points
- Fraudulently obtaining a driver’s license
- School truancy
- Delinquent with child support
The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles may also revoke a driver’s license for different reasons such as failing to demonstrate adequate vision, drug-related offenses or having accumulated sufficient violations to be termed a Habitual Traffic Offender.
Penalties for Driving with A Suspended License
When a vehicle has been stopped by the police and they determine that the driver’s license has been suspended, the nature of the offense will depend on the circumstances.
If this is the first time the driver has been stopped for this offense and the driver is unaware that the license has been suspended, revoked, or cancelled, the driver may be found guilty of a moving violation punishable by a fine or other penalties, but the offense may not be treated as a crime.
If the driver has knowledge of the suspension, however, driving becomes a criminal offense. For the first offense, the crime is treated as a second-degree misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $500 and up to 60 days in jail. A second offense makes the violation a first-degree misdemeanor so that the fine increases to up to $1,000 and the potential jail time increases up to one year.
If the driver is convicted of driving with a license that has been suspended, revoked or canceled three or more times, the violation is treated as a third-degree felony punishable by a fine of up to $5,000 and up to five years in jail (Fla. Stat. Ann. §322.34) making it imperative that a Ft Lauderdale lawyer is contacted right away.
How a Ft. Lauderdale Unlicensed Attorney Can Help
Driving without a valid license is a charge that needs to be taken seriously. A knowledgeable attorney will know how to build the best defense in court and whether you may qualify for a hardship license during a term of suspension.
Contact a Ft. Lauderdale unlicensed driving lawyer today to get experienced help on your side.