In Florida, a first offense of driving while your license is suspended, revoked, or canceled (DWLS) is a second-degree misdemeanor, punishable by a maximum jail sentence of 60 days and/or a fine of up to $500. First-time offenders usually do not receive a jail or probation sentence. Keep in mind that you can be charged with DWLS even if you do not have a driver’s license if your privilege to drive has been suspended or revoked, for instance, because you have a child support payment violation.
A second offense or subsequent is a first-degree misdemeanor, which carries a jail term of up to one year and/or a maximum fine of $1,000. Many second-time violators of this law are sentenced to probation in lieu of jail time.
When it comes to a third or subsequent DWLS offense, a recent change in the law requires a judge to sentence a violator to a minimum of ten days in jail. And it does not matter how long ago your previous DWLS charges occurred. However, upon your third or subsequent DWLS offense, if the reason your driver’s license was suspended is due to a DUI, Refusal to Submit to a breath, urine or blood alcohol test, a traffic offense causing death or serious bodily injury, or fleeing/eluding police, you can be charged with a third-degree felony, which can result in a prison sentence of up to five years and/or a maximum fine of $5,000.
Additionally, you could be classified as a “habitual traffic offender” (HTO) by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles if your two prior offenses occurred within a five-year period of the third offense. An HTO classification carries a five-year driver’s license suspension. Driving as an HTO is also a third-degree felony.
You may have defenses and there may be ways to avoid jail time (even if you have been charged with a third or subsequent DWLS, so it is important that you contact an attorney upon receiving a citation for DWLS.
If you have been arrested for driving with a suspended or revoked license in Fort Lauderdale, call the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Grossman, LLC at (954) 280-8811 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free consultation. We represent clients throughout the state of Florida, focusing on the South Florida area, including Palm Beach, Broward, and Miami-Dade Counties.