A suspended driver’s license means you’re not allowed to drive for a set period of time since it’s considered invalid. And in Clearwater, FL, driving with a suspended driver’s license is considered an offense. However, it can be a civil traffic violation or a felony, which depends on the reason why your driver’s license was suspended in the first place.
If you’ve recently been caught with a DWLS or driving while your license is suspended, you need a reputable driving with a suspended license lawyer in Clearwater, FL. They can help you understand your case and how the process will go. And at Smith & Eulo, you’ll find a team of experienced attorneys ready to provide aid and expert legal advice.
Reasons Why Your Driver’s License is Suspended
There are many reasons for a person’s driver’s license to get suspended. So you must wait for the suspension to expire before reinstating it. Plus, the requirements will vary since it depends on the reason why it got suspended in the first place. Here are some reasons for a suspended driver’s license:
- Unpaid traffic tickets
- Failure to appear at traffic summons
- Habitual traffic offender
- Failure to pay child support
- Point suspensions
- Failure to pay court financial obligation
However, a driver may not know that their license is suspended. And in cases like these, a Clearwater, FL Driving with a Suspended License Lawyer can help you navigate the situation.
Different Penalties for a DWLS in Clearwater
The penalties for DWLS depend on the situation, such as whether the driver knows if their license is suspended. They might get prosecuted with a non-violent criminal infraction or a second-degree misdemeanor. So hiring a driver with a suspended license defense in Clearwater, FL, is best so that you understand the case against you.
First offenders with no knowledge or with knowledge have different penalties, which are as follows:
- The first offender with no knowledge of license suspension will be charged with a non-violent criminal infraction. It’s punishable by no other penalty than a fine, civil penalty, or forfeiture.
- The first offender aware of the suspension will be given a second-degree misdemeanor, punishable by 60 days imprisonment or six months probation. To show their knowledge, the individual must be cited for DWLS, admit the suspension, or have received a notice from the court or the adjudicatory body.
For a second offense with knowledge, an offender will be indicted with a first-degree misdemeanor. It’s punishable with up to one year of imprisonment or probation. If they don’t have a criminal record, the court can withhold the adjudication of guilt, which can avoid a criminal conviction.
For a third offense with knowledge, they will most probably be indicted with a third-degree felony. It’s already punishable with up to five years of jail time. However, they won’t be facing mandatory jail time unless they face more pending severe felonies or if they have a criminal history.
Driver with a Commercial License
A first offense for a driver with a suspended license is equivalent to a first-degree misdemeanor. On the other hand, a second offense is already equal to a third-degree felony.
Fines & Vehicle Impoundment/Immobilization for DWLS
Apart from jail time and probation, there are fines that the offender must pay. At the same time, the court can rule on vehicle impoundment, which also depends on some factors. The fines and vehicle impoundments are as follows:
- First offense: Maximum of $500 fine
- Second offense: $1,000 fine with vehicle impoundment
- Third offense: Up to $5,000 fine. If the three violations happened within five years, the offender is considered a habitual offender and can result in driver’s license revocation with increased prison time and fines.
Points Accumulation in Clearwater
According to the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, there are points that each individual will get if they receive traffic tickets or if they have traffic violations. Below are common traffic violation points to keep in mind.
- Speeding: 3 pts.
- Crash (left the scene without giving information with a damage of $50): 6 pts
- Crash (didn’t leave info, the vehicle is unattended, there’s property damage due to collision): 6 pts
- Careless driving: 3 pts
- Violated 183(2), 316.187, or 316.189: 4 pts
- Passing on the exit/entrance side of a bus: 4 pts
- Fail to stop during a Steady Red Signal: 3 pts
- Failed to yield – pedestrian’s right of way: 3 pts
- Failure to yield: 3 pts
- Improper backing: 3 pts
- Child Restraint required: 3 pts
- Too fast for conditions: 3 pts
Driving privileges are suspended if drivers collect many points within a timeframe. The points given will depend on the conviction type and will remain on their record for at least five years from the date of conviction.
How many points do you need to be suspended, and for how long will the suspension last:
- 12 points within 12 months: Suspension for 30 days
- 18 points within 18 months: Suspension for three months
- 24 points within 36 months: Suspension for one year
Reinstatement of Driver’s License After Suspension
Once your suspension is done, you can reinstate your driver’s license. You’ll need to submit proof of Advanced Driver Improvement (ADI) school enrollment and pay a reinstatement fee, which costs $75 for revocations and $45 for suspensions.
Submit these and other fees to any Florida driver’s license center. But it’s worth noting that additional suspensions may require additional clearance requirements. For instance, if it’s drug or alcohol related, you may have to pay an additional $130 as an administrative fee.
Choose a Reliable Lawyer with Years of Experience in DWLS
Drinking with a suspended license can be complicated, so you need a Driving with a Suspended License defense attorney in Clearwater, FL, to provide reliable legal counsel. Fortunately, we have a team of lawyers here at Smith & Eulo you can come to. Don’t hesitate to contact us today, and we can formulate a defense for you.