Driving while license is suspended is a serious crime in most states in the United States. Unfortunately, a drivers’ license may be difficult and costly to reinstate once it has been suspended. Many defendants opt to take the risk of driving while license is suspended in order to provide for family or in emergency situations. It is also possible to receive a citation for driving on a suspended license without knowledge of the suspension.
Driving While License Suspended Without Knowledge
Clerks of court and other officials may be inconsistent when explaining the proper steps to reinstate a drivers’ license that has been suspended. Some defendants may believe that all of the proper procedures have been followed, and that the license has been reinstated, when it is in fact still suspended. If an individual is stopped while driving on a suspended license and the person had no knowledge of the suspension or believed the license to be reinstated, the officer may still issue a fine and citation, as well as revoking the license on the scene and forcing the individual to find other transportation.
Driving While License Suspended Penalties
State penalties may vary for the crime of driving on a suspended license, but most states levy fines and may impound the vehicle if the driver had knowledge of the suspension or is a habitual offender. Depending on the situation, the offender may also face jail time. In most cases, the defendant’s drivers’ license will also be suspended for a lengthened period, and possibly even indefinitely.
Suspended License Attorney
Those that have received a citation for driving while license is suspended should contact a criminal defense lawyer that has expertise in dealing with suspended license cases as soon as possible. A lawyer may not only bring into question the charge at hand, but may also question the charge that originally caused the license to be suspended. In some cases, the original charges are found to be improper, and the subsequent charge of driving on a suspended license is dismissed.
Tickets for Traffic Violations
If a ticket has been issued for a traffic violation, individuals should be aware that payment of the ticket is an automatic admission of guilt. Points may be assessed against the license following payment of the ticket, and additional violations may result in more severe penalties. An attorney with expertise in dealing with suspended license situations may be able to fight the ticket if it has not been paid yet, whereas the charge will be more difficult to fight if the ticket has been paid.
Habitual Traffic Offenders
States may vary in the number of violations that designate an individual as a habitual traffic offender, but the designation may add severity to charges and penalties incurred. If a habitual traffic offender is caught driving on a suspended license, the arresting officer can charge the offender with both driving on a suspended license and felony driving on a suspended license as a habitual traffic offender, in some states. For these reasons, it is import to contact a skilled attorney following any citation in which the license is suspended.
Suspended License Criminal Defense
The steps necessary to defend against a driving while license suspended charge may differ depending on the original charges that caused the license to be suspended and the number of previous violations. If it is a first-time violation, a criminal defense attorney may be able to successfully challenge the original reason for the suspension and help defendants to reinstate the drivers’ license. While subsequent offenses may be more difficult to defend, an experienced attorney will be able to provide the best advice for incurring the lowest possible penalties.
Habitual Traffic Offenders Defense
If the reasons for license suspension were purely financial, such as non-payment of tickets or child support, an attorney may be able to have a felony charge of driving while license suspended overturned. If there were underlying reasons such as DUI that caused the original suspension, a skilled attorney may still successfully contest one of the violations and have the felony charge lessened. A criminal defense attorney that specializes in defending those that have been charged with driving while license is suspended will be able to provide the best advice for avoiding harsh penalties and reinstating a license.
“Driving While Revoked, Suspended or Otherwise Unlicensed: Penalties by State.” Driving While Revoked, Suspended or Otherwise Unlicensed: Penalties by State. National Conference of State Legislatures, 21 Nov. 2011. Web. 21 May 2014. <http://www.ncsl.org/research/transportation/driving-while-revoked-suspended-or-otherwise-unli.aspx>
“Driving While Suspended.” Driving While Suspended. U.S. Department of Transportation, 1 Feb. 2002. Web. 21 May 2014. <http://www.nhtsa.gov/people/injury/research/observation_study/driving_whilesuspend.htm>
“Statutes & Constitution: View Statutes: Online Sunshine.” Statutes & Constitution: View Statutes: Online Sunshine. The Florida Legislature, 20 May 2014. Web. 21 May 2014. <http://www.leg.state.fl.us/Statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&Search_String=&URL=0300-0399/0322/Sections/0322.34.html>