As you probably know, driving while license suspended (DWLS) is a misdemeanor. If it is your first offense, it is a second-degree misdemeanor. If you have a prior conviction, it becomes a first-degree misdemeanor.
A third or subsequent offense is a felony of the third degree, punishable by a maximum of 5 years in prison.
The State must prove that you knew of the suspension at the time you drove. If you did not know of the suspension, the charge is a mere traffic infraction.
The element of knowledge is satisfied if the person has been previously cited or the person admits to knowledge of the cancellation, suspension, or revocation; or the person received notice as provided in subsection.
There shall be a rebuttable presumption that the knowledge requirement is satisfied if a judgment or order 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.
This charge, while a third-degree felony, is not the same as driving while license suspended as a habitual traffic offender. Habitual traffic offender, or HTO, is a specific charge that requires proof that the accused was driving while designated a habitual traffic offender.
Click here to learn about how somebody becomes an HTO.
I am a criminal defense attorney who represents drivers in Miami-Dade and Broward who have been charged with any type of driving while license suspended charge.
For an evaluation of your case, call me today.