According to the laws of the great state of Florida, Driving While License Suspended or Revoked (DWLSR), is an offense, under chapter 322.34. Based on the reasons for suspension, and after checking whether repeat violations are involved, the charge can be judged to be either a felony or a misdemeanor. There can be numerous reasons for revoking a person’s driver’s license. These include,
- Driving under the effect of alcohol.
- Refusal to undergo a breathalyzer test.
- Avoiding the payment of traffic tickets.
- Driving without insurance.
- Supplying false information on the application for driver’s license.
Depending upon the seriousness of the gravity of the crime, different penalties are awarded.
The statutes state that,
- First two-time offenses are considered misdemeanors, for which the maximum prison term is sixty days, and the maximum limit for fine is five hundred dollars (Florida Statute Section 775.082 and 772.083).
- The charges can be, civil infraction or second-degree misdemeanor.
- In this case withholding of adjudication is not counted as a conviction.
- In Florida, it is the least severe degree of offense.
- The third time offense is considered a felony, in which case the maximum prison term and fine are five years and five thousand dollars respectively.
- The charge, in this instance, is a third-degree felony.
- In this case, the withholding adjudication counts as a conviction.
- Mostly those accused of more serious pending felonies before the same court for sentencing, or those who have a lengthy criminal history are the only ones who may end up facing mandatory prison in this case.
- In all of these cases, the onus is on the prosecutor to prove that the accused was aware of license being frozen at the time when he drove the vehicle.
A person is classified as a repeated traffic offender when he/she has gathered the specified number of convictions for the following crimes within a period of five years:
- (1) more than three criminal sentences for one/more of the following crimes arising out of different acts:
- Voluntary /involuntary manslaughter done by a motor vehicle.
- Any felony whose commissioning involves a motor vehicle.
- Driving with a revoked or suspended license.
- Failing to render help to the authorities as obligated by law.
- Driving a commercial motor vehicle under suspended privilege to do so; or
- (2) 15 convictions for offenses related to moving traffic for which points may be considered.
In case, the payment of fine is being avoided then the person may elect to,
- Enter a plea of nolo contendere.
- Provide a proof of consent to a designated official.
- Make the once a year, thrice in a lifetime election.
- If the accused can obtain a driver’s license, it may be better to come to the court with it.
Under the Florida law, a non-criminal breach is not a crime, and a guilty sentence for a non-criminal violation does not automatically mean a legal disability based on crime. In case a person has been charged or arrested with a suspended license offense, it is advisable for him/her to contact a criminal defense lawyer. The intricacies of the law can be surprisingly complex, and a misstep can turn a tight situation into a much more challenging one.
On occasions, people’s names mistakenly appear on the list of suspended licenses due to administrative errors. Care must be taken to make sure regularly, that the license is presently valid and that you are carrying it with you at all times when you are driving.
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