Driving While License Suspended or Revoked
Orlando DWLS Lawyers Defending Clients Throughout Florida
At NeJame Law, we represent people throughout Orlando and Central Florida who are charged or arrested for driving while their license is suspended (DWLS) or revoked (DWLSR). Every criminal defense attorney at our firm realizes how important is to have a valid driver's license is and how serious it can be for a client to lose their license. Loss of a driver's license is a loss of independence. Without the freedom to drive, a person may not be able to work or carry on with their family life. There are also some very real civil and criminal penalties that can result if one is arrested or charged with DWLS or DWLSR. Our Orlando DWLS attorneys have decades of collective experience that we use to fight for our clients’ rights and get reduced charges and other optimal results.
When Can a License Be Suspended?
You should contact a criminal defense attorney to represent you immediately after you are ticketed or arrested. Driving While License Suspended or Revoked (DWLSR) (DWLS) are the types of cases where our proactive approach is especially important. If we are contacted prior to your arraignment date, we may seek to determine if you qualify for a "clerk withhold."
A driver's license can be suspended or revoked for a variety of reasons, such as:
- Points suspension
- Failure to pay child support
- Failure to pay tickets
- Failure to pay judgment
- Failure to appear in court
- Habitual traffic offender
- Conviction for drug or theft offense
- Conviction for certain prostitution offenses
- DUI offenses
Depending on the reason your driver's license has been suspended, a clerk’s withhold is an option that allows you to avoid a criminal conviction on your record and obtain a favorable resolution of your case even before you have an arraignment. If you are eligible for a clerk's withhold, you must resolve your case before the arraignment or the first court date to take advantage of this disposition. This is one reason why retaining your lawyer early can be essential.
In other cases, you may have a valid defense that needs to be thoroughly evaluated and investigated. The timing of prior convictions, the proper computation of previous tickets, whether proper notice was served and received regarding the suspension, the legal validity of the stop which led to the arrest and evaluating and assessing the underlying basis for the suspension are some things that an effective and aggressive attorney may need to address as some of your possible defenses.
Types of Offenses
The charge of driving while license suspended (either with or without knowledge) is serious. A conviction can cause a dramatic increase in your insurance premiums for years to come. Most importantly, entering a plea or paying the ticket can cause you to receive a five-year suspension of your driver's license as a Florida "Habitual Traffic Offender" if you have three criminal or civil infractions within a five (5) year period.
DWLS Without Knowledge
Driving While License Suspended Without Knowledge is a civil infraction. Florida statute 322.34 (1) states that someone driving their vehicle without knowing that their license is suspended is guilty of a moving violation. Aside from being adjudicated guilty and having three points assessed on your license, a DWLS without knowledge citation can have devastating consequences if you have at least two other major violations on your driving record.
DWLS With Knowledge
Driving on a Suspended License With Knowledge is a criminal infraction and your appearance in court IS REQUIRED. Florida Statute 322.34 (2) states that a person commits a misdemeanor of the second degree when they are convicted of driving while their license is suspended on the first offense. Even if adjudication is withheld, meaning no formal conviction, a DWLS with Knowledge still counts as a major moving violation for purposes of Habitualization with the DHSMV.
Even upon a conviction, depending on the circumstances, you may be eligible for a hardship license after a point suspension if you satisfy certain requirements including taking an examination, completing a Twelve Hour Advanced Driving Improvement (ADI) Course, paying a fee for reinstatement, and paying additional fees for the hardship license.
Charged with DWLS? Contact our Orlando Defense Lawyers
Every criminal defense attorney at the Orlando-based office of NeJame Law
works diligently on behalf of our clients. We strive to pursue a successful
resolution and outcome on behalf of our clients for any charge of Driving
While License Suspended or Revoked. Our decades of combined experience
and the collective knowledge of our board-certified team are available
to assist and represent you during this difficult and challenging time.
Let us help you develop a strategy to best protect your privilege to drive. If we can go to court to obtain a withhold of adjudication or a dismissal, this will not count toward the three offenses that can cause you to become a Habitual Traffic Offender. An experienced attorney from our law firm can be a powerful advocate for you in court.
Call our Orlando DWLS attorneys immediately if you’re in the Florida area at (407) 500-0000. Our lawyers, including founder Mark NeJame, can get you the trusted representation you need.
When can someone be charged with DWLS?
If a person is caught by the police driving with a suspended license in Orlando or in any place in Florida, the person can be charged with a crime if they knew their license was suspended at the time they drove. Otherwise, it’s a civil traffic violation if the police cannot establish the person knew their license was suspended. The State usually tries to prove a person knew their license was suspended if they previously received a citation for driving with a suspended license, they admit they knew their license was suspended, or if the Department of Motor Vehicles had previously sent a notice of the suspension to the driver.
What are the consequences of a DWLS conviction?
Being arrested for Driving with a Suspended License can have a huge impact on a person's criminal record and ability to have a driver's license in the future. The penalties for this charge greatly vary depending on how many prior convictions a person has for driving with a suspended license, and why the license was suspended. The first time a person is arrested for this offense, it usually is prosecuted as a second-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to a maximum of 60 days in jail. If a person has previously received a conviction for this charge, the case may be prosecuted as a first-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail. A third or subsequent offense could be prosecuted as a third-degree felony, punishable by up to five years in prison. Furthermore, if a person is driving with a license that was suspended because they were labeled as a Habitual Traffic Offender, they could also be charged with a third-degree felony. If a person receives three driving with license convictions (even a withhold of an adjudication counts as a conviction if the charge is criminal) within five years, the Department of Motor Vehicles would label the person as a Habitual Traffic Offender and suspend their license for five years.
I have been charged with DWLS. What can you do for me?
We defend charges of driving with a suspended license aggressively. If our clients are charged with a criminal charge of driving with a suspended license, we first inquire whether the state can prove our clients knew their license was suspended. Additionally, we inquire into whether the police unlawfully stopped our client, and if so, we would file an appropriate motion to suppress (throw out) the evidence. We also advise our clients on the appropriate steps they must take to get their license reinstated. Returning to court with a good license usually looks very favorable to judges and prosecutors.