DWLSR With Knowledge
The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) can revoke or suspend a driver’s license or driving privilege for several driving-related and non-driving-related reasons.
If you drive on a revoked or suspended driver’s license, then you can be arrested for the crime of Driving While License Suspended or Revoked (DWLSR). The crime is charged as a second-degree misdemeanor for a first offense or a first-degree misdemeanor for a second conviction.
What is the difference between a suspension and a revocation? A suspension means the temporary withdrawal of the privilege to drive as explained in Section 322.01(40), F.S. On the other hand, a “revocation” means a termination of the privilege to drive as explained in Section 322.01(36), F.S.
Knowingly driving on a suspended or revoked driver’s license is a criminal offense that comes with criminal penalties. Having a criminal record might come with collateral consequences that last a lifetime.
For example, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) can suspend your driver’s license for five years as a habitual traffic offender if you are convicted of three (3) serious driving offenses including driving on a suspended driver’s license (either with or without knowledge).
Attorneys for DWLSR with Knowledge in Tampa, FL
After an arrest for driving on a suspended or revoked license with knowledge, seek out the services of an experienced criminal defense attorney in Tampa, FL. Before you go to court, you should understand the consequences of entering a “guilty” or “no contest” to this criminal charge.
The attorneys at the Sammis Law Firm represent clients on driving while license suspended with knowledge throughout Hillsborough County, FL, including at the courthouse in Tampa and Plant City.
We also represent clients in the surrounding counties including Hernando County, Pasco County, Pinellas County, Manatee County, and Polk County.
We welcome your calls to discuss the case. Call 813-250-0500.
Criminal Consequences for DWLS
What happens when an officer discovers that you are driving on a revoked or suspended license in Florida? Any offense for driving while license suspended with knowledge in Florida is a criminal offense punishable with criminal penalties.
The maximum sentence and penalties for a DWLSR charge depend on the way the crime is charged including:
- A first offense of driving while license revoked or suspended with knowledge in Florida is a second-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to sixty (60) days in the county jail or six months of probation. The maximum fine for a misdemeanor in the second degree is $500.
- A second or subsequent charge for driving while license suspended or revoked with knowledge in Florida is a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by twelve (12) months in the county jail and a one thousand ($1,000) dollar fine.
- A third or subsequent charge of driving with a suspended or revoked driver’s license can be charged as a first-degree misdemeanor, or under certain circumstances as a third-degree felony, which is punishable by five years in Florida State Prison and a $5,000 fine.
Administrative Consequences of DWLS
If you enter a plea to three or more serious driving offenses within a five-year period, then your driver’s license will be suspended as a Habitual Traffic Offender. Driving while your license is suspended as a Habitual Traffic Offender is a third-degree felony punishable by five years in Florida State Prison.
A conviction for DWLS might also lead to an increase in your car insurance premiums.
Police Procedures for DWLS Investigations
When an officer suspects that a motorist’s driver’s license is either suspended or revoked, the following procedures apply:
- The officer is required to contact CIC and conduct a driver’s license check to determine the status of the driver’s license.
- For the charge of unlawful use of a driver’s license, including possession of a suspended or revoked license, the appropriate Florida Statute must be be cited, including the appropriate subsection which clarifies how the license was unlawfully used.
- If the driver’s license status indicates that the license has been revoked or suspended due to being a habitual traffic offender, has numerous suspensions, or has expired, the officer may arrest the offender and impound the driver’s license and place it into Property/Evidence as evidence. After the arrest, the officer must initiate an Offense Report to document the incident.
- If the driver’s license status indicates that the license has been suspended due to a minor infraction, the officer may issue a citation with a mandatory court date. The officer is trained to impound the license and an Offense Report should be initiated to document the incident.
- When an officer impounds a driver’s license, they shall obtain a copy of the driver’s record and attach it to the report.
- When the officer has cited the violator and impounds the license, the officer is trained not to permit the violator to operate the motor vehicle and just drive away.
Driving Related Offenses that Trigger a Driver’s License Suspension or Revocation
If you are convicted of any of the following types of driving-related offenses, then your driver’s license can be suspended or revoked:
- driving under the influence (DUI);
- refusal to submit to a lawful breath, blood, or urine test in a DUI investigation; or
- fleeing or attempting to elude a law enforcement officer,
If you have been arrested for driving while license suspended or revoked in the Tampa Bay area, including Tampa or Plant City in Hillsborough County, FL, then contact an attorney at the Sammis Law Firm for more information about fighting this serious criminal charge.
This article was last updated on Monday, February 7, 2022.