What are the different driving on a suspended license (DWLS) charges in Florida?
Updated: Apr 3, 2020
One of the most common traffic charges in Sarasota, and throughout Florida, is driving while license suspended, cancelled, or revoked, commonly referred to as a DWLS charge. While DWLS is considered a traffic charge, the degree and severity can differ greatly depending on the circumstances.
CIVIL DRIVING ON A SUSPENDED LICENSE
The lowest level DWLS is a non-criminal traffic infraction. These occur when a cop determines a person's driver's license is suspended without their knowledge. This is a civil infraction and usually comes with a fine and points on one's license; it does not carry any criminal sanctions.
MISDEMEANOR DRIVING ON A SUSPENDED LICENSE
The next level up is DWLS with knowledge of the suspension. This is a second degree misdemeanor and may carry criminal sanctions such as probation, community service, or 60 days county jail. If a person has one prior conviction for DWLS with knowledge, the State may charge DWLS after prior conviction, which is a first degree misdemeanor and can carry up to a year in the county jail.
FELONY DRIVING ON A SUSPENDED LICENSE
After three convictions for DWLS, the charge becomes much more serious. If a person has had three convictions within five years, he will be labeled as an habitual traffic offender (HTO). Being labeled as an HTO may make a DWLS charge a third degree felony. A third degree felony could expose an individual to up to five years in prison.
ATTORNEY FOR SUSPENDED LICENSE CHARGES
Though DWLS starts off as a simple traffic ticket, as one can see the trouble can get compounded very quickly. The attorneys of Soler & Simon are highly experienced in handling all type of DWLS charges. If you have recently been charged with a DWLS of any kind, please call us at (941) 444-5128 to discuss your options.
For more information on how our attorneys defend DWLS cases including defenses and strategies to beat the charges, please visit our Driving On A Suspended License page.