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What You Should Know if You Are Caught Driving on a Suspended License

June 6, 2012
By The Wiseman Law Firm

Driving with a suspended license in Florida is a criminal offense if you had notice of the suspension or should have known of it. Your license may be suspended for any of the following reasons:

Reasons for Suspending a Driver’s License

  • Refusal to take a blood alcohol test
  • Failing a blood alcohol test
  • Failing to pay traffic fines
  • Driving without insurance
  • Guilty of DUI
  • Providing false information on a driver’s license
  • Failing to appear in court
  • Failing to pay child support
  • Fleeing an accident with injury or a fatal accident
  • Commission of a crime involving a motor vehicle
  • Excessive moving violations
  • Reckless driving violation
  • Drug related conviction
  • Theft or shoplifting conviction

A driver’s license is not a right but a privilege that the state can take away from you for a specific time.


If it is determined that you lacked knowledge of the suspension, it is a civil infraction and you should not be charged criminally. Otherwise, you face criminal penalties.

  • A first-time driving while license suspended (“DWLS”) offense is a second degree misdemeanor, which carries up to 60 days in jail, 6 months’ probation, and a fine up to $500.
  • A second DWLS upgrades the offense to a first degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to 1 year in jail, 1 year of probation, and up to a $1,000 fine.
  • A third DWLS is a third-degree felony, which carries up to 5 years in prison and a $5,000 fine. You also could be labeled a Habitual Traffic Offender (“HTO”) and face a license revocation of 5 years.
  • Should your license have been permanently revoked, you face a third-degree felony charge punishable by up to 5 years in prison, 5 years’ probation and a $5,000 fine.
  • Also, you face impoundment of your vehicle if you are caught driving on a suspended license.

It is possible your criminal charge could be dismissed if you are eligible for, and complete, a pre-trial diversion program. Please contact us so that we can determine if you are eligible for a diversion program which, if you successfully complete, will result in your charge being dismissed.

You can also apply for a Business Purposes Only (“BPO”) hardship license once you complete an Advance Driver Improvement Course and petition the DMV for issuance of the license.


The main defense to being caught driving on a suspended license is that you lacked knowledge of the suspension. If you are stopped for a traffic violation or at a checkpoint and your license is found to be under revocation or suspension, do not admit that you were aware of it. If you do admit you knew it was suspended it will be much easier for the prosecution to prove their case.

The prosecution must prove you had knowledge of the license suspension you are charged with, but if this is not your first DWLS, it may be difficult to show lack of knowledge or that you reasonably did not know. Without the proper notification to prove you had knowledge of your license suspension your charge can be reduced to a civil infraction.

The only way to ensure your rights are protected in any criminal case, including a license suspension case, is to have a skilled and experienced criminal defense attorney from The Wiseman Law Firm in Orlando representing you.

The Wiseman Law Firm has the knowledge, trial and negotiating experience you will need to have the best opportunity to have your charges reduced or dismissed.

Call The Wiseman Law Firm today for a free consultation.

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