Florida Defense Lawyer
In Florida, a driver’s license can be suspended or revoked for several reasons, the most common of which may be driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Fortunately for drivers, there are several ways that an experienced attorney can work to get a license reinstated.
There are several grounds for suspending or revoking a license in Florida, including:
- Driving under the influence;
- Refusing to submit to a breath, urine, or blood test when arrested for DUI
- Accumulation of points from traffic tickets;
- Habitual traffic offender designation;
- The failure to pay child support;
- Lack of auto insurance;
- Any moving violations leading to injury or death;
- Drug crime convictions; and
- Failure to complete driving school, when ordered by the court.
Driving Under the Influence
An arrest for driving under the influence results in an immediate, automatic driver’s license suspension. Additionally, if a person is pulled over on suspicion of DUI and refuses blood alcohol content testing, the driver’s license will be suspended.
At an administrative suspension hearing, the driver and his or her attorney can defend against the suspended license charge. Until the hearing, the driver may obtain a temporary permit, so that he or she can drive until the suspension has been either removed or made official.
Driving With a Suspended Driver’s License
Failing to pay tickets or accumulating too many tickets can mean that a license is suspended. Driving while a license is suspended (DWLS) is a moving violation, which is a civil, rather than criminal, infraction, as long as the driver did not know that the license had been suspended.
But if a driver drives on a suspended license and knows that the license has been suspended, there will be criminal consequences. A driver’s knowledge of a suspended license can be presumed in many situations, unless the license has been suspended due to a failure to pay a traffic ticket or for financial responsibility violations.
Knowing DWLS is a second degree misdemeanor for a first offense and a first degree misdemeanor for a second conviction. A third or subsequent offense is a third degree felony.
Habitual Traffic Offenders
If a driver continues to drive on a suspended license, the suspension may be extended or the license permanently revoked. A person will be classified as a habitual traffic offender if, within five years, he or she has accumulated either fifteen moving violations or three convictions for any one or more of several traffic-related offenses, including:
- Driving on a suspended license;
- Manslaughter resulting from driving a vehicle;
- Felonies involving motor vehicles; and
Classification as a habitual offender leads to the revocation of a license for five years, and driving after being designated a habitual offender is a third degree felony.
The way to fight a license suspension depends upon the reason that it was suspended. To reinstate a license based on the failure to pay child support, driver’s license liens, or the failure to pay court costs, the driver must get caught up on payments or work out a payment plan to get the suspension lifted.
At a DUI hearing, the driver can fight the suspended license charge. For those designated habitual traffic offenders, their lawyers can attack the validity of the earlier convictions.
If fighting a suspension in court fails, a driver may apply for a hardship license, as long as he or she takes the required Advanced Driver Improvement School course or, if alcohol was involved, attends DUI school. A hardship license is for either business or employment purposes, and, depending on the type of license, may allow a driver to drive to work, school, church, and medical appointments.
If your license has been suspended or revoked, please contact West Palm Beach criminal defense attorney William Wallshein to discuss your case.