Florida Statute 322.34 addresses the charge of driving while license Suspended and the various levels associated with it. A license can be suspended for any number of reasons (failure to pay traffic tickets, drug offenses, prior DUIs, failure to pay child support, possession of a controlled substance etc.) and if you are unlucky enough to be caught driving on a suspended license you may be taken to jail and risk losing your license for up to 5 years.
Florida Statute 322.34 (1) addresses driving on a suspended license without the knowledge that the license is suspended. This is a non-criminal, moving violation citation, or a ticket. This is non-criminal because the driver did not know the license was suspended. Due to this being just “a ticket”, many people just simply pay the ticket rather than having an attorney handle the matter. These charges are stackable, meaning that with each successive violation, the punishment increases. It is important to speak to an experienced traffic attorney before resolving any citation.
Florida Statute 322.32 (2) addresses driving while a license suspended, with knowledge. This is no longer a non-criminal citation; this is a criminal charge. The distinguishing factor is that it contains the element of knowledge. What does that mean? This means that the prosecuting attorney must prove that the driver knew that his or her license was suspended at the time of the offense.
The first time a person is charged under this statute, they are facing a second degree misdemeanor conviction which can result in a penalty of up to 60 days in jail. The second time a person is charged with driving with a suspended license, they face conviction for a first degree misdemeanor which carries a penalty of up to 365 days in jail. Third time can result in a third degree felony conviction. This conviction can carry a penalty of 60 months in prison.
Any three convictions of driving with a suspended license (even if the three convictions are without knowledge) can result in a person being classified as a Habitual Traffic Offender (HTO). If a person is designated as an HTO, their driving privileges are revoked for a period of 5 years. If a person is caught driving during this period, they face a third degree felony charge under 322.34 (5) for driving while a license is suspended as an HTO. This is punishable as a third degree felony.
Driving while license suspended charges may seem minor, but in reality they can become a big deal very quickly.
If you are charged with driving with a suspended license, a skilled attorney can help you sort through the various state traffic laws and navigate your case to a resolution that does not involve criminal charges.
Before you take on the court system and just “pay your ticket” consult a qualified Volusia County attorney.
Do you have questions about a traffic ticket? Call Avallone Law P.A. today at 386-682-9235 for your free consultation.