Driving while license suspended explained


Florida Suspended License Information

A suspended license seriously limits a person's ability to function within the normal course of everyday life. There are two sets of facts that a person needs to understand in regards to a suspended license, and those are how a license can be suspended and what the potential consequences are for driving with a suspended license. Each of these issues is explained briefly below, but anyone facing this issue needs to contact my office today.

The loss of driving privileges in Florida can occur for many reasons. Among the most common are:


  • Failure to pay a traffic citation


  • Failure to appear in court

  • Driving Under the Influence

  • Habitual Traffic Offender (HTO) revocation

  • Conviction for Possession of Controlled Substance (Marijuana/Cocaine)

  • Financial Responsibility Suspensions (Lapse of Insurance)

  • Failure to Pay Child Support

  • Failure to meet Out-of-State obligations

  • Excessive points on your driving record

  • Failure of or Refusal to take a Breath Exam

Knowledge of Suspension Required for Criminal Charges

Florida requires that the driver have actual knowledge that his license is suspended or revoked for him to be guilty of a crime. State records that show notice has been sent to the driver create a rebuttable presumption that the driver did in fact have knowledge that his privilege to drive had been withdrawn.

This principle of notice as knowledge applies to all suspensions or revocations except for suspensions for failing to pay for a ticket and financial responsibility suspensions (failing to maintain insurance coverage on your vehicle or failure to pay child support). However, being stopped more than once while driving during the same suspension or an admission of knowledge takes away the claim that the driver did not have knowledge of the suspension.

If a driver has three Driving While License Revoked/Supsended (DWLRS) within five years, the driver is designated as a Habitual Traffic Offender (HTO). Designation as an HTO means a five year administrative driver’s license suspension from the Florida Department of Highway Safety, Division of Drivers Licenses.

Driving While License Suspended Without Knowledge

There is a specific offense in Florida for driving suspended without knowledge of that suspension. It is a civil offense like other minor traffic tickets. It is punishable by a fine only and does not carry the possibility of jail.

Consequences for Driving With a Suspended License in Florida

If a person is convicted of driving with a suspended license, the consequences are always serious, but these consequences range in degree of severity. For instance, if a person is caught driving while his or her license is suspended during a "routine" traffic stop, that person can face the possibility of jail, additional suspension and a substantial fine.

However, if a person is involved in an accident or is driving under the influence while his or her driving privileges are suspended, he or she can face serious criminal charges in conjunction with the accident itself. For instance, a person who causes injury with a vehicle while his or her license is suspended can face a prison term of up to five years and/or a fine of up to $5,000.00. The defendant's driving privileges can also be permanently revoked.

Regardless of where you may be in regards to a suspended license, you need to understand your rights and to seek out the possibility of having your driving privileges restored. The best way to accomplish this is by contacting my office immediately.


If you are in need of an attorney with DWLRS experience, contact www.marybethcorn.com for a free consulation today.


The material on this page represents general legal advice. Since the law is continually changing, some of the provisions contained here may be out of date. It is always best to consult a criminal defense attorney about your legal rights and responsibilities regarding your particular case.