West Palm Beach Driving With a Suspended License Attorney David W. Olson
It is illegal to drive with a suspended driver’s license in Florida. A conviction for this offense – also referred to as DWLS – can potentially result in a misdemeanor or felony, jail or prison sentence, expensive fines, and possible vehicle impoundment, immobilization or seizure. While many suspensions are caused by traffic citations, there are numerous other causes, such as non-payment of child support.
If you were charged with DWLS, it is advisable to consult with an experienced attorney who can help you resolve the offense in the most favorable and expeditious manner possible. West Palm Beach Attorney David Olson has more than 33 years of experience representing clients in a wide range of felonies and misdemeanors, including driving with a suspended license. He has helped countless clients reinstate their driving privileges. A complimentary case review can be scheduled by phone or email.
Understanding Florida’s Driver’s License Suspension Laws
Florida Statute 322.34, entitled “Driving while license suspended, revoked, canceled or disqualified” details the driver’s license suspension laws. Relevant sections include the following, some of which have been edited for brevity:
- The most significant element in the statute pertains to whether or not the driver had knowledge that their license was suspended or revoked.
- The element of knowledge may be satisfied in several ways, including:
- A previous citation, or,
- An admission of knowledge of the suspension, cancelation or revocation;
- The person received notice through the court, a traffic citation,
- “There shall be a rebuttable presumption that the knowledge requirement is satisfied if a judgment or order as provided in subsection (4) appears in the department’s records for any case except for one involving a suspension by the department for failure to pay a traffic fine or for a financial responsibility violation.”
“With or Without Knowledge” of Driving With a Suspended License
When a person drives without knowledge that his or her license was suspended the penalties are less severe:
- Will result in a civil traffic citation, not a criminal citation
- The maximum penalty is a $500 fine
When a person drives with knowledge that his or her license was suspended, the penalties are more severe:
- Will result in a criminal traffic violation:
- 1st offense: 2nd degree misdemeanor – 60 days jail, $500 fine, maximum
- 2nd offense: 1st degree misdemeanor – 364 days jail, $1,000 fine, maximum
- 3rd or subsequent offense: 3rd degree felony – 5 years prison, $5,00 fine, maximum
While all drivers are responsible for staying abreast of their driving records, this does not mean that they cannot potentially be helped if their license was suspended. Discuss your case with Attorney Olson, as each case is unique and depends upon its particular circumstances.
Various Reasons for Driver’s License Suspensions:
The Florida DMV can suspend your license for various reasons, including, but not limited to:
- Failure to pay for one or more traffic citations
- Failure to appear in court or comply with a court order
- Auto insurance policy lapse or non-renewal
- Auto insurance company does not notify or confirm DMV of active or reinstated policy
- Inability or failure to prove auto insurance and/or vehicle registration
- Shoplifting; theft; stealing gas – “gas and go”
- Failure to pay child support
- DUI arrest and/or conviction
- Drug offense conviction
- Prostitution or solicitation conviction involving the vehicle
- Acquiring too many points within the allowed time frames
Driver’s License Points and Time Frames
When a driver accumulates a certain number of points, a suspension may result. According to the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles:
“The department is authorized to suspend the license of any person who has accumulated 12 or more points within one year. Points are calculated by the date you received the ticket.
- 12 points accumulated in 12 months will result in a 30 day suspension of your driving privilege.
- 18 points accumulated in 18 months (including points from a 12 point suspension) will result in a 3-month suspension of your driving privilege.
- 24 points accumulated in 36 months (including points from a 12 point and/or 18 point suspension) will result in a one-year suspension of your driving privilege.” Source: Florida DMV
Habitual Traffic Offender
If a person receives the Habitual Traffic Offender notice from the DMV, he or she is facing a potential five year driver’s license revocation. The HTO status commonly results from three “driving with a suspended license” violations. It is essential to contact an experienced attorney promptly after receipt of the HTO notice so he can pursue relief within the allowed time.
The Habitual Traffic Offender is detailed in Sec. 322.264, Florida Statutes:
- A “habitual traffic offender” is any person whose record, as maintained by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, shows that such person has accumulated the specified number of convictions for offenses described in subsection (1) or subsection (2) within a 5-year period:
- (1) Three or more convictions of any one or more of the following offenses arising out of separate acts:
- (a) Voluntary or involuntary manslaughter resulting from the operation of a motor vehicle;
- (b) … violations of statutes 316.193, former s. 316.1931, or former s. 860.01
- (c) Any felony in the commission of which a motor vehicle is used;
- (d) Driving a motor vehicle while his or her license is suspended or revoked;
- (e) Failing to stop and render aid as required … in a motor vehicle crash resulting in the death or personal injury of another; or
- (f) Driving a commercial motor vehicle while his or her privilege is disqualified
- (2) Fifteen convictions for moving traffic offenses for which points may be assessed as set forth in s. 322.27, including those offenses in subsection (1).
Law Offices of Attorney David W. Olson – Representation for Drivers with Suspended Licenses
Since 1982, Attorney David W. Olson has represented thousands of clients facing felonies, misdemeanors, traffic violations and other charges. Attorney Olson has been awarded numerous professional distinctions and accolades for his dedication and legal ability, including:
- National Associated of Distinguished Counsel Top 1% – its highest honor.
- AV Preeminent Peer Rating – 5.0 out of a possible 5.0 – for highest ethical standards and professional ability. Fewer than 5% of all attorneys receive this high honor.
- Top 100 Trial Lawyers rating – by the National Trial Lawyers.
To quote one of Attorney Olson’s peers: “He is respectful, extremely patient and an excellent advocate for his clients. He treats them with nothing but respect and courtesy. In addition, Mr. Olson is very well respected in the courtroom by all the Judges and the State Attorney’s Office…”
Attorney Olson’s practice areas include domestic assault and battery disputes, all drug offenses, marijuana possession, juvenile matters, sex offenses, murder and other violent offenses, burglary and theft, DUI, BUI, white collar crimes, probation violate and virtually all other felonies and misdemeanors in both state and federal courts. Attorney Olson will immediately respond to any emergency situation.
Attorney Olson serves clients throughout Florida, including in West Palm Beach, Palm Beach County, Boca Raton, Delray Beach, Broward County, Fort Lauderdale and Miami-Dade County. To schedule a free, confidential case review, contact The Law Offices of David W. Olson at 561-833-8866.
Sections 322.34, 322.264, Florida Statutes (2014)
Florida DMV, “Driver License Points and Point Suspensions”