- Two Types of Driving While License Suspended Charges
- With Knowledge – Criminal Violation
- Without Knowledge – Civil Infraction
- The “3 WITHIN 5″ Law
- Reasons for Suspensions
- Failure to Pay
- Financial Responsibility
- Habitual Traffic Offender
- How We Can Help
- Florida Statute Text F.S. 322.34
Two Types of Driving While License Suspended Charges
There are two types of Driving While License Suspended Charges (DWLS), with and without knowledge. DWLS with knowledge is a criminal violation and DWLS without knowledge is a civil infraction, however, the consequences for each can be detrimental to your driving privilege.
With Knowledge – Criminal Violation
DWLS with knowledge is a criminal violation that an officer may arrest you on and take you to jail. DWLS with knowledge requires a court appearance by you or your attorney. The maximum sentence for a DWLS with knowledge depends on the number of similar prior offenses you have.
First OffenseMisdemeanor of the second degree, punishable up to 60 days jail.
Second OffenseMisdemeanor of the first degree, punishable up to 364 days jail.
Third or Subsequent Felony of the third degree, punishable up to 5 years prison.
*In addition to probation or jail, your drivers license can also be suspended longer. See Effect on Your Drivers License section below for more information.
Without Knowledge – Civil Citation
DWLS without knowledge is a civil infraction that can be paid without a court appearance. HOWEVER, paying this citation is a guilty plea and can result in you losing your drivers license for 5 years. We can prevent this from happening by appearing in court for you and negotiating with the Judge.
The “3 WITHIN 5″ law – Effect on your drivers license
Florida law states that if you receive three (3) DWLS charges within five (5) years YOU WILL LOSE YOUR LICENSE FOR 5 YEARS! However, if you get charged with your third or subsequent DWLS, many times we are able to prevent this suspension.
Reasons for Suspension
Failure to Pay Traffic Citation
The most common reason for having your license suspended is for not paying a prior traffic citation. If you fail to pay your traffic citation for speeding, red light, careless driving, etc., your driver’s license will be suspended until it is paid.
If you are involved in a traffic accident and do not have insurance or fail to provide proof the State will suspend your driver’s license. To prevent this from happening you have two options, first if you had valid insurance on the date of the accident you can take this to your local DMV office and have them remove the suspension. The second option, if you did not have valid insurance on the day of the accident is to get a release from the person who’s car was damaged or pay a deposit for the amount of the damages and get SR-22 insurance for a period of one year.
Habitual Traffic Offender (HTO)
HTO is a status given to someone who violates the “3 WITHIN 5″ law. When you get HTO status your license will be suspended for 5 years. If you drive when on HTO status and get caught, you will be charged with a felony of the third degree. However, our firm can help you fight both the new charge for DWLS HTO and help to remove the HTO status and get your drivers license back!
How We Can Help
At the Law Office of M. Ameen, we have handled hundreds of DWLS cases. We understand the complexity of each case and are able to handle your pending charge to prevent any further suspensions and can file the appropriate motions to get your license back! Call us 24 hour a day, 7 days a week, toll free 1-800-436-8332 to set up a free consultation.
Florida Statute Text – Driving While License Suspended
322.34 Driving while license suspended, revoked, canceled, or disqualified.–
- Except as provided in subsection (2), any person whose driver’s license or driving privilege has been canceled, suspended, or revoked, except a “habitual traffic offender” as defined in s. 322.264, who drives a vehicle upon the highways of this state while such license or privilege is canceled, suspended, or revoked is guilty of a moving violation, punishable as provided in chapter 318.
- Any person whose driver’s license or driving privilege has been canceled, suspended, or revoked as provided by law, except persons defined in s. 322.264, who, knowing of such cancellation, suspension, or revocation, drives any motor vehicle upon the highways of this state while such license or privilege is canceled, suspended, or revoked, upon:
- A first conviction is guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
- A second or subsequent conviction is guilty of a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.
- The element of knowledge is satisfied if the person has been previously cited as provided in subsection (1); or the person admits to knowledge of the cancellation, suspension, or revocation; or the person received notice as provided in subsection (4). There shall be a rebuttable presumption that the knowledge requirement is satisfied if a judgment or order as provided in subsection (4) appears in the department’s records for any case except for one involving a suspension by the department for failure to pay a traffic fine or for a financial responsibility violation.
- In any proceeding for a violation of this section, a court may consider evidence, other than that specified in subsection (2), that the person knowingly violated this section.
- Any judgment or order rendered by a court or adjudicatory body or any uniform traffic citation that cancels, suspends, or revokes a person’s driver’s license must contain a provision notifying the person that his or her driver’s license has been canceled, suspended, or revoked.
- Any person whose driver’s license has been revoked pursuant to s. 322.264 (habitual offender) and who drives any motor vehicle upon the highways of this state while such license is revoked is guilty of a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.
- Any person who operates a motor vehicle:
- Without having a driver’s license as required under s. 322.03; or
- While his or her driver’s license or driving privilege is canceled, suspended, or revoked pursuant to s. 316.655, s. 322.26(8), s. 322.27(2), or s. 322.28(2) or (4), and who by careless or negligent operation of the motor vehicle causes the death of or serious bodily injury to another human being is guilty of a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
- Any person whose driver’s license or driving privilege has been canceled, suspended, revoked, or disqualified and who drives a commercial motor vehicle on the highways of this state while such license or privilege is canceled, suspended, revoked, or disqualified, upon:
- A first conviction is guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
- (b) A second or subsequent conviction is guilty of a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.
- (a) Upon the arrest of a person for the offense of driving while the person’s driver’s license or driving privilege is suspended or revoked, the arresting officer shall determine:
- Whether the person’s driver’s license is suspended or revoked.
- Whether the person’s driver’s license has remained suspended or revoked since a conviction for the offense of driving with a suspended or revoked license.
- Whether the suspension or revocation was made under s. 316.646 or s. 627.733, relating to failure to maintain required security, or under s. 322.264, relating to habitual traffic offenders.
- Whether the driver is the registered owner or coowner of the vehicle.
- If the arresting officer finds in the affirmative as to all of the criteria in paragraph (a), the officer shall immediately impound or immobilize the vehicle.
- Within 7 business days after the date the arresting agency impounds or immobilizes the vehicle, either the arresting agency or the towing service, whichever is in possession of the vehicle, shall send notice by certified mail, return receipt requested, to any coregistered owners of the vehicle other than the person arrested and to each person of record claiming a lien against the vehicle. All costs and fees for the impoundment or immobilization, including the cost of notification, must be paid by the owner of the vehicle or, if the vehicle is leased, by the person leasing the vehicle.
- Either the arresting agency or the towing service, whichever is in possession of the vehicle, shall determine whether any vehicle impounded or immobilized under this section has been leased or rented or if there are any persons of record with a lien upon the vehicle. Either the arresting agency or the towing service, whichever is in possession of the vehicle, shall notify by express courier service with receipt or certified mail, return receipt requested, within 7 business days after the date of the immobilization or impoundment of the vehicle, the registered owner and all persons having a recorded lien against the vehicle that the vehicle has been impounded or immobilized. A lessor, rental car company, or lienholder may then obtain the vehicle, upon payment of any lawful towing or storage charges. If the vehicle is a rental vehicle subject to a written contract, the charges may be separately charged to the renter, in addition to the rental rate, along with other separate fees, charges, and recoupments disclosed on the rental agreement. If the storage facility fails to provide timely notice to a lessor, rental car company, or lienholder as required by this paragraph, the storage facility shall be responsible for payment of any towing or storage charges necessary to release the vehicle to a lessor, rental car company, or lienholder that accrue after the notice period, which charges may then be assessed against the driver of the vehicle if the vehicle was lawfully impounded or immobilized.
- Except as provided in paragraph
- the vehicle shall remain impounded or immobilized for any period imposed by the court until:
- The owner presents proof of insurance to the arresting agency; or
- The owner presents proof of sale of the vehicle to the arresting agency and the buyer presents proof of insurance to the arresting agency.
- If proof is not presented within 35 days after the impoundment or immobilization, a lien shall be placed upon such vehicle pursuant to s. 713.78.
- (f) The owner of a vehicle that is impounded or immobilized under this subsection may, within 10 days after the date the owner has knowledge of the location of the vehicle, file a complaint in the county in which the owner resides to determine whether the vehicle was wrongfully taken or withheld. Upon the filing of a complaint, the owner may have the vehicle released by posting with the court a bond or other adequate security equal to the amount of the costs and fees for impoundment or immobilization, including towing or storage, to ensure the payment of such costs and fees if the owner does not prevail. When the vehicle owner does not prevail on a complaint that the vehicle was wrongfully taken or withheld, he or she must pay the accrued charges for the immobilization or impoundment, including any towing and storage charges assessed against the vehicle. When the bond is posted and the fee is paid as set forth in s. 28.24, the clerk of the court shall issue a certificate releasing the vehicle. At the time of release, after reasonable inspection, the owner must give a receipt to the towing or storage company indicating any loss or damage to the vehicle or to the contents of the vehicle.
- A motor vehicle that is driven
- A motor vehicle that is driven by a person under the influence of alcohol or drugs in violation of s. 316.193 is subject to seizure and forfeiture under ss. 932.701-1932.707 and is subject to liens for recovering, towing, or storing vehicles under s. 713.78 if, at the time of the offense, the person’s driver’s license is suspended, revoked, or canceled as a result of a prior conviction for driving under the influence.
- The law enforcement officer shall notify the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles of any impoundment or seizure for violation of paragraph (a) in accordance with procedures established by the department.
- Notwithstanding s. 932.703(1)(c) or s. 932.7055, when the seizing agency obtains a final judgment granting forfeiture of the motor vehicle under this section, 30 percent of the net proceeds from the sale of the motor vehicle shall be retained by the seizing law enforcement agency and 70 percent shall be deposited in the General Revenue Fund for use by regional workforce boards in providing transportation services for participants of the welfare transition program. In a forfeiture proceeding under this section, the court may consider the extent that the family of the owner has other public or private means of transportation.