Your license was recently suspended and now you’re left with no way to get around. If you’re considering taking the risk and driving anyway, you should first familiarize yourself with how the State of Florida penalizes those who choose to operate their vehicle with a suspended license.
According to Florida Statue §322.34, any person who has had their driving privileges canceled, suspended, or revoked (with the exception of a “habitual traffic offender” as defined in s. 322.264) that is caught operating a motor vehicle, shall be faced with the following penalties:
First-time offenders shall be charged with a second-degree misdemeanor that carries the following penalties: Imprisonment for no more than 60 days or a $500 fine.
Second-time offenders shall be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor that carries the following penalties: Imprisonment for no more than one year or a $1,000 fine.
A third or subsequent offender shall be faced with a third-degree felony that carries the following penalties: Imprisonment for no more than five years or a $5,000 fine, as well as immediate vehicle impoundment. In the event an individual is convicted of this charge, they shall be required to serve a minimum of 10 days in jail.
Now, if your license was suspended for any of the following reasons and you are caught operating your vehicle during the suspension period, you could be charged and convicted of a felony of the third degree:
You were convicted of driving under the influence.
You refused to submit to a urine, breath-alcohol, or blood alcohol test.
You caused an accident that resulted in serious bodily injury to another or death.
Fleeing or eluding.
Now that you understand how Florida penalizes individuals who operate their vehicle while their license is suspended, it is worth noting a driver may or may not be taken to jail when caught committing the offense. You see, while there are some officers who may arrest you on the spot and take you to the station, there are others who may issue a notice to appear. By definition, a notice to appear is “a written order issued by a law enforcement officer in lieu of physical arrest requiring a person accused of violating the law to appear in a designated court or governmental office at a specified date and time” [Source: Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.125].
Rather than take the risk, it is best to not drive at all.
What should I do if I was caught operating my vehicle on a suspended license in Winter Park, FL?
If you were caught operating your vehicle on a suspended license, contact The Law Office of Donald A. Lykkebak to speak with a Winter Park, FL criminal defense lawyer. A criminal defense attorney can fight your charges and potentially get them reduced.