Most people know whether their driver’s license is in poor standing. For example, someone who’s been convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) knows whether his or her license has been revoked. Likewise, most drivers realize that a conviction for reckless driving in Florida can result in a license suspension.
But there are several ways your license can be suspended that are less clear. In some cases, it’s possible to be completely unaware of the suspension. Unfortunately, if you’re caught driving with a suspended license (DWLS), you could still face jail time and significant fines despite this lack of awareness.
Reasons Your Driver’s License Can Be Suspended
Your license can be suspended for any of the following reasons:
- DUI arrest
- DUI conviction
- refusal to take a Breathalyzer test
- conviction for a drug-related offense
- conviction for theft
- driving without auto insurance
- delinquent child support payments
- too many points on your driving record
- failure to appear in court
- failure to pay fines related to other offenses
Some of these reasons may be surprising to you. And that’s the problem. You may not realize you’re driving with a suspended license at the time you’re pulled over by a police officer.
DWLS With Knowledge Vs. Without Knowledge
The state of Florida makes a distinction between driving with a suspended license with knowledge and without knowledge. Knowingly driving with a suspended license is a criminal offense that comes with criminal penalties. Doing so without knowledge is a civil infraction with less-serious penalties.
The prosecutor bears the burden of proof. He or she must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you had actual or constructive knowledge of your license suspension.
An example of actual knowledge would be your admittance that you knew about the suspension. An example of constructive knowledge would be a letter mailed to you by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV), notifying you of the suspension.
The prosecutor might also attempt to prove knowledge via a prior DWLS conviction.
What Does This Mean For You?
Never concede to a DWLS charge without first consulting an experienced Orlando traffic ticket lawyer. The penalties that accompany a conviction can be severe, particularly for a third offense. Your attorney will examine the circumstances surrounding your case, and design a defense strategy to resolve the matter with minimal penalties.
Our Florida traffic ticket attorneys possess more than 60 years of combined experience in defending clients against all types of traffic violations. We’ve successfully resolved thousands of cases for our clients. If you were arrested for DWLS, call us today at 407-894-4449 or fill out this simple form for a no-risk consultation.