Driving with a Suspended License

Driving with a suspended license (DWLS) can be charged as a civil infraction, misdemeanor or felony. Pleading to any DWLS offense can trigger a new automatic five-year habitual traffic offender (HTO) driver license suspension.  I have defended hundreds of DWLS cases. Once hired, I will:

  1. Order and review your certified driving record;
  2. Determine what needs to be done to reinstate your license and keep it valid;
  3. Start negotiating with the prosecutor for a dismissal or reduced charges, and
  4. Do whatever is necessary to avoid a criminal conviction.

bridge

The facts of your driving on a suspended license case matter

The United States Constitution guarantees that people be free from unreasonable searches and seizures and illegal police conduct. It is important you have a complete understanding of the facts of your case, the evidence against you and any weaknesses in the State’s case against you.

  • Were you stopped for a lawful reason?
  • Did you know that your driver’s license was suspended?
  • Are you able to reinstate your driver’s license?
  • Were you read your Miranda rights? Were any of your statements illegally obtained?
  • Were there witnesses to this incident? Is there any video evidence of this incident?
  • Are there other factors or motivations that show your lack of intent to commit a crime?
  • Is there a lack of evidence or a conflict in the evidence?

Helping Your Reinstate Your Driver’s License

My primary goal in any suspended license case is to assist you in reinstating your driver’s license. DWLS offenses can be divided into two categories; correctable and not correctable.

Correctable offenses

With a little bit of time, money and effort, I can reinstate your license before we resolve your court case. Examples of correctable situations are license suspensions relating to an unpaid ticket, failure to appear, child support, an expired suspension or failure to attend traffic school. Reinstatement can lead to a reduced charge, a no-jail sentence and avoiding any future habitual traffic offender (HTO) designation.

 Non-correctable offenses

These are situations where your driving record does not allow for immediate reinstatement. Examples are non correctable situations are an active DUI revocation, a chapter 893 controlled substance suspension or a permanent revocation.

Removing the HTO Designation From Your Driving Record

You are classified as a Habitual Traffic Offender if you have been convicted of three or more designated traffic offenses in a five-year period. Both civil and criminal DWLS offenses count toward HTO designation. So you could have over the years paid three civil infractions, never even seen the inside of a courtroom and still be classified as a habitual traffic offender. HTO DWLS offenses are prosecuted as both felony and misdemeanor offenses. Our primary goal in any HTO case is to do whatever possible to remove the HTO designation from your driving record. This is most often accomplished by invalidating one or more prior civil DWLS convictions, thereby reducing your HTO predicate offenses to less than three. This automatically removes the HTO designation and makes your license valid if you have no other suspensions.

Misdemeanor HTO DWLS Statute, 322.34(10)(A) and (10)(B)

A newly enacted amendment to the DWLS statute is found in Florida Statute 322.34(10) and provides for misdemeanor prosecution if your license is suspended for a specified reason. Florida Statute 322.34 10(a) and 322.34(10)(b) apply to all driver’s that have not been convicted of a forcible felony and reclassifies an otherwise felony DWLS into a first-degree or second-degree misdemeanor offense. Call our office to see how 322.34(10) may apply to your HTO DWLS prosecution.

tokyo

DWLS Diversion Program

The DWLS Diversion Program provides two opportunities for diversion:

Level 1 is for those who have the financial means to address their outstanding debts and obtain a valid license by their first scheduled court hearing following their arrest or issuance of the citation.

Level 2 is for those who may not have the financial means to pay outstanding fees that would allow them to obtain a valid license by their first scheduled court hearing, but is willing to commit to a six-month program to help pay off their outstanding debts and obtain a valid license. This program requires a $50 cost of prosecution fee and six months of consecutive payments on a payment plan administered by the Clerk of the Court.

Individuals who qualify for the program will be offered entry by the prosecutor in court. When the person successfully fulfills the terms and conditions of the DWLS Diversion Program, their case will be dismissed by the prosecutor.

Criminal Offenses Eligible

This diversion program is designed for those specifically arrested for driving while license suspended or revoked or no valid driver’s license.

Eligibility for Participation

To qualify for the DWLS Diversion Program, the person’s driving privilege must be suspended for failing to pay traiffic fines or penalties, tolls or failure to pay on a criminal case.

You are not eligible for the DWLS Diversion Program if your license is suspended for cases involving a crash, property damage, or personal injury or death or driving on a DUI related suspension.

Program Requirements

The prosecutor will advise the person if he/she is eligible for the DWLS Diversion Program in court. If an invidual is eligble for the level 1 DWLS diversion program it will be handled during arraignment. Individuals who are eligible for the DWLS Diversion Level 2 Program will be expected to sign the program agreement in court and go to Room 410 in the Orange County Courthouse to sign up for a payment plan and pay the $100 down payment. The down payment will be applied to the $50 cost of prosecution and any other outstanding financial obligations.

Underage Drinking Diversion Program

Criminal Offenses Eligible for Underage Drinking Diversion

This diversion program is designed for those specifically arrested for possession of alcoholic beverages by persons under age 21 and possession of a false driver license or identification card.

Eligibility for Participation

To qualify for the Underage Drinking Diversion Program, the person must be under the age of 21at the time of the offense, and the facts of the case must involve alcohol consumption, possession, or attempt to gain access to establishments that serve alcohol.

Program Requirements

Participants who qualify for the level one diversion program will be required to watch a free online education course regarding underage drinking. Participants will follow the prompts at the end of the short video and be issued a certificate of completion. Once this certificate has been received and verified by the State Attorneys office, they will dismiss you case and file a Nolle Prosequi.

Recent Suspended License Case Law

Geiger v. State, 5D18-2146 (Fla. 5th DCA 2019) One who has never had a driver’s license cannot be found guilty of DWLS.

State v. Laina, 5D14-4469 (Fla. 5th DCA 2015) A trial court errs in granting a motion to suppress where the knows that the registered owner (rather than the driver) of the car has a suspended license and conducts the traffic stop to investigate.  The relevant probability here is that most vehicles are driven by their owners, most of the time. As such, once Officer Bruns discovered that the owner of the vehicle he was following had a suspended driver’s license, this ‘articulated fact’ gave him a ‘founded suspicion’ that the driver might be driving illegally.

Prater v. State, 161 So.3d 489 (Fla. 5th DCA 2014) License suspension, knowledge of the license suspension, and actually driving are the requisite elements of the crime of driving while license suspended.

Driving with a Suspended or Revoked License Attorney

If you were recently arrested or charged with any Florida criminal offense, please call my driving with a suspended license law firm in Winter Park, Florida at 407-740-7275 to discuss your options. I offer a free consultation so that I can learn about you, learn about your case and determine how I can help.

 

 

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Driving with a suspended license (DWLS) can be charged as a civil infraction, misdemeanor or felony. Pleading to any DWLS offense can trigger a new automatic five-year habitual traffic offender (HTO) driver license suspension.  I have defended hundreds of DWLS cases. Once hired, I will:

  1. Order and review your certified driving record;
  2. Determine what needs to be done to reinstate your license and keep it valid;
  3. Start negotiating with the prosecutor for a dismissal or reduced charges, and
  4. Do whatever is necessary to avoid a criminal conviction.

bridge

The facts of your driving on a suspended license case matter

The United States Constitution guarantees that people be free from unreasonable searches and seizures and illegal police conduct. It is important you have a complete understanding of the facts of your case, the evidence against you and any weaknesses in the State’s case against you.

  • Were you stopped for a lawful reason?
  • Did you know that your driver’s license was suspended?
  • Are you able to reinstate your driver’s license?
  • Were you read your Miranda rights? Were any of your statements illegally obtained?
  • Were there witnesses to this incident? Is there any video evidence of this incident?
  • Are there other factors or motivations that show your lack of intent to commit a crime?
  • Is there a lack of evidence or a conflict in the evidence?

Helping Your Reinstate Your Driver’s License

My primary goal in any suspended license case is to assist you in reinstating your driver’s license. DWLS offenses can be divided into two categories; correctable and not correctable.

Correctable offenses

With a little bit of time, money and effort, I can reinstate your license before we resolve your court case. Examples of correctable situations are license suspensions relating to an unpaid ticket, failure to appear, child support, an expired suspension or failure to attend traffic school. Reinstatement can lead to a reduced charge, a no-jail sentence and avoiding any future habitual traffic offender (HTO) designation.

 Non-correctable offenses

These are situations where your driving record does not allow for immediate reinstatement. Examples are non correctable situations are an active DUI revocation, a chapter 893 controlled substance suspension or a permanent revocation.

Removing the HTO Designation From Your Driving Record

You are classified as a Habitual Traffic Offender if you have been convicted of three or more designated traffic offenses in a five-year period. Both civil and criminal DWLS offenses count toward HTO designation. So you could have over the years paid three civil infractions, never even seen the inside of a courtroom and still be classified as a habitual traffic offender. HTO DWLS offenses are prosecuted as both felony and misdemeanor offenses. Our primary goal in any HTO case is to do whatever possible to remove the HTO designation from your driving record. This is most often accomplished by invalidating one or more prior civil DWLS convictions, thereby reducing your HTO predicate offenses to less than three. This automatically removes the HTO designation and makes your license valid if you have no other suspensions.

Misdemeanor HTO DWLS Statute, 322.34(10)(A) and (10)(B)

A newly enacted amendment to the DWLS statute is found in Florida Statute 322.34(10) and provides for misdemeanor prosecution if your license is suspended for a specified reason. Florida Statute 322.34 10(a) and 322.34(10)(b) apply to all driver’s that have not been convicted of a forcible felony and reclassifies an otherwise felony DWLS into a first-degree or second-degree misdemeanor offense. Call our office to see how 322.34(10) may apply to your HTO DWLS prosecution.

tokyo

DWLS Diversion Program

The DWLS Diversion Program provides two opportunities for diversion:

Level 1 is for those who have the financial means to address their outstanding debts and obtain a valid license by their first scheduled court hearing following their arrest or issuance of the citation.

Level 2 is for those who may not have the financial means to pay outstanding fees that would allow them to obtain a valid license by their first scheduled court hearing, but is willing to commit to a six-month program to help pay off their outstanding debts and obtain a valid license. This program requires a $50 cost of prosecution fee and six months of consecutive payments on a payment plan administered by the Clerk of the Court.

Individuals who qualify for the program will be offered entry by the prosecutor in court. When the person successfully fulfills the terms and conditions of the DWLS Diversion Program, their case will be dismissed by the prosecutor.

Criminal Offenses Eligible

This diversion program is designed for those specifically arrested for driving while license suspended or revoked or no valid driver’s license.

Eligibility for Participation

To qualify for the DWLS Diversion Program, the person’s driving privilege must be suspended for failing to pay traiffic fines or penalties, tolls or failure to pay on a criminal case.

You are not eligible for the DWLS Diversion Program if your license is suspended for cases involving a crash, property damage, or personal injury or death or driving on a DUI related suspension.

Program Requirements

The prosecutor will advise the person if he/she is eligible for the DWLS Diversion Program in court. If an invidual is eligble for the level 1 DWLS diversion program it will be handled during arraignment. Individuals who are eligible for the DWLS Diversion Level 2 Program will be expected to sign the program agreement in court and go to Room 410 in the Orange County Courthouse to sign up for a payment plan and pay the $100 down payment. The down payment will be applied to the $50 cost of prosecution and any other outstanding financial obligations.

Underage Drinking Diversion Program

Criminal Offenses Eligible for Underage Drinking Diversion

This diversion program is designed for those specifically arrested for possession of alcoholic beverages by persons under age 21 and possession of a false driver license or identification card.

Eligibility for Participation

To qualify for the Underage Drinking Diversion Program, the person must be under the age of 21at the time of the offense, and the facts of the case must involve alcohol consumption, possession, or attempt to gain access to establishments that serve alcohol.

Program Requirements

Participants who qualify for the level one diversion program will be required to watch a free online education course regarding underage drinking. Participants will follow the prompts at the end of the short video and be issued a certificate of completion. Once this certificate has been received and verified by the State Attorneys office, they will dismiss you case and file a Nolle Prosequi.

Recent Suspended License Case Law

Geiger v. State, 5D18-2146 (Fla. 5th DCA 2019) One who has never had a driver’s license cannot be found guilty of DWLS.

State v. Laina, 5D14-4469 (Fla. 5th DCA 2015) A trial court errs in granting a motion to suppress where the knows that the registered owner (rather than the driver) of the car has a suspended license and conducts the traffic stop to investigate.  The relevant probability here is that most vehicles are driven by their owners, most of the time. As such, once Officer Bruns discovered that the owner of the vehicle he was following had a suspended driver’s license, this ‘articulated fact’ gave him a ‘founded suspicion’ that the driver might be driving illegally.

Prater v. State, 161 So.3d 489 (Fla. 5th DCA 2014) License suspension, knowledge of the license suspension, and actually driving are the requisite elements of the crime of driving while license suspended.

Driving with a Suspended or Revoked License Attorney

If you were recently arrested or charged with any Florida criminal offense, please call my driving with a suspended license law firm in Winter Park, Florida at 407-740-7275 to discuss your options. I offer a free consultation so that I can learn about you, learn about your case and determine how I can help.

 

 

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