Although a relatively minor charge, Driving with a suspended license charges are the most difficult to deal with in court. If the defendant knew that his/her license was suspended and was driving the car, then the case is extremely difficult to defend. Our attorneys, however, know how to attack such charges and make sure that the officer's stop of the car was legally sufficient.
Driving on Suspended License charges are also particularly harsh because of the collateral consequences that come with such offenses. Subsequent violations can lead to Habitual Traffic Offender (HTO)designations. A Florida HTO designation can lead to felony charges for subsequent offenses, and a five year revocation of one's driving privileges.
Florida's Driving While License Suspended law is lengthy and complicated. Below are the statutes. You should strongly consider having a lawyer represent you in a Florida Driving While License Suspended charge. Please contact the lawyers at Arnold & Sichta to discuss your Florida driving arrest today.
322.264 "Habitual traffic offender" defined.
A "habitual traffic offender" is any person whose record, as maintained by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, shows that such person has accumulated the specified number of convictions for offenses described in subsection (1) or subsection (2) within a 5-year period:
(1) Three or more convictions of any one or more of the following offenses arising out of separate acts:
(a) Voluntary or involuntary manslaughter resulting from the operation of a motor vehicle;
(c) Any felony in the commission of which a motor vehicle is used;
(d) Driving a motor vehicle while his or her license is suspended or revoked;
(e) Failing to stop and render aid as required under the laws of this state in the event of a motor vehicle crash resulting in the death or personal injury of another; or
(f) Driving a commercial motor vehicle while his or her privilege is disqualified.
(2) Fifteen convictions for moving traffic offenses for which points may be assessed as set forth in s. 322.27, including those offenses in subsection (1).
Any violation of any federal law, any law of another state or country, or any valid ordinance of a municipality or county of another state similar to a statutory prohibition specified in subsection (1) or subsection (2) shall be counted as a violation of such prohibition. In computing the number of convictions, all convictions during the 5 years previous to July 1, 1972, will be used, provided at least one conviction occurs after that date. The fact that previous convictions may have resulted in suspension, revocation, or disqualification under another section does not exempt them from being used for suspension or revocation under this section as a habitual offender.
History.--s. 2, ch. 72-175; s. 21, ch. 73-331; s. 4, ch. 74-384; s. 8, ch. 84-359; s. 21, ch. 86-296; s. 21, ch. 89-282; ss. 11, 21, ch. 91-255; s. 13, ch. 97-96; s. 291, ch. 99-248.
322.274 Automatic revocation of driver's license.
1) The driver's license of any person convicted hereunder of theft of any motor vehicle or parts or components of a motor vehicle shall be revoked. If such revocation shall not be ordered by the court, the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles shall forthwith revoke the same. The department shall not consider the convicted person's application for reinstatement of such revoked license until the expiration of the full term of the sentence imposed, whether served during actual imprisonment, probation, parole, or suspension.
(2) It shall be grounds for the revocation of any person's parole or probation if he or she operates a motor vehicle while his or her license is revoked pursuant to this chapter. However, it shall be within the discretion of the trial judge who imposes sentence upon the person convicted hereunder to direct the reinstatement of the person's driver's license on a limited basis after a reasonable time.
History.--s. 1, ch. 70-19; s. 1, ch. 70-439; s. 4, ch. 71-342; s. 65, ch. 74-383; s. 415, ch. 95-148.
Note.--Former s. 814.05.
322.331 Habitual traffic offenders; restoration of license.
At the expiration of 5 years from the date of license revocation, a person whose license has been revoked under s. 322.27(5) may petition the department for restoration of driving privileges. Upon such petition and after investigation of the person's qualification and fitness to drive, the department shall hold an administrative hearing to determine whether driving privileges shall be restored either on an unrestricted basis or on a restricted basis solely for business or employment purposes.
History.--s. 6, ch. 72-175.
322.34 Driving while license suspended, revoked, canceled, or disqualified.
(1) 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.
(2) 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:
(c) A third 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.
(3) 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.
(4) 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.
(5) 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.
(6) Any person who operates a motor vehicle:
(a) Without having a driver's license as required under s. 322.03; or
(b) 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.
(7) 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:
(8)(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:
1. Whether the person's driver's license is suspended or revoked.
2. 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.
4. Whether the driver is the registered owner or coowner of the vehicle.
(b) 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.
(c) 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 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.
(d) 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 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.
(e) Except as provided in paragraph (d), the vehicle shall remain impounded or immobilized for any period imposed by the court until:
1. The owner presents proof of insurance to the arresting agency; or
2. 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 or lienholder 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 or lienholder does not prevail. When the vehicle owner or lienholder 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.
(9)(a) 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. 932.701-932.706 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.
(b) 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.
(c) 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.
(10)(a) Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, if a person does not have a prior forcible felony conviction as defined in s. 776.08, the penalties provided in paragraph (b) apply if a person's driver's license or driving privilege is canceled, suspended, or revoked for:
3. Failing to comply with a civil penalty required in s. 318.15;
4. Failing to maintain vehicular financial responsibility as required by chapter 324;
5. Failing to comply with attendance or other requirements for minors as set forth in s. 322.091; or
6. Having been designated a habitual traffic offender under s. 322.264(1)(d) as a result of suspensions of his or her driver's license or driver privilege for any underlying violation listed in subparagraphs 1.-5.
(b)1. Upon a first conviction for knowingly driving while his or her license is suspended, revoked, or canceled for any of the underlying violations listed in subparagraphs (a)1.-6., a person commits a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
2. Upon a second or subsequent conviction for the same offense of knowingly driving while his or her license is suspended, revoked, or canceled for any of the underlying violations listed in subparagraphs (a)1.-6., a person commits a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
History.--s. 46, ch. 19551, 1939; CGL 1940 Supp. 8135(60); s. 46, ch. 20451, 1941; s. 7, ch. 22858, 1945; s. 1, ch. s. 59-3; s. 214, ch. 71-136; s. 7, ch. 72-175; s. 4, ch. 76-153; s. 69, ch. 88-381; s. 23, ch. 89-282; s. 85, ch. 94-306; s. 941, ch. 95-148; s. 1, ch. 95-202; s. 1, ch. 95-278; s. 40, ch. 97-300; s. 12, ch. 98-223; s. 10, ch. 98-324; s. 108, ch. 99-13; s. 1, ch. 99-234; s. 46, ch. 99-248; s. 85, ch. 2000-165; s. 64, ch. 2008-4; s. 1, ch. 2008-53; s. 5, ch. 2009-206.
322.341 Driving while license permanently revoked.
Any person whose driver's license or driving privilege has been permanently revoked pursuant to s. 322.26 or s. 322.28 and who drives a motor vehicle upon the highways of this state is guilty of a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.
History.--s. 13, ch. 98-223.
Updated as of September 1, 2009 from http://www.flsenate.gov/.