One of the most common issues I deal with as a criminal defense attorney practicing in Miami-Dade County is DWLS - Driving While License Suspended. Clients from all walks of life come to me looking for help with their suspended licenses. Some have one or two open suspensions whereas others may be considered Habitual Traffic Offenders. In any case, these clients are looking to fix their licenses so that they may drive without fear of being arrested.
In the State of Florida, driving is a privilege, not a right. Therefore, the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) can revoke your driving privileges for a number of reasons. This can be due to a failure to appear in court for a traffic citation, or a failure to pay a traffic citation. It can be due to failure to carry proper auto insurance, or failure to make child support payments. Your license may also be suspended as a result of a DUI, or of the accumulation of too many points on your driving record in too short a time due to numerous traffic tickets.
DWLS (driving while license suspended) can be a traffic citation only (and not a criminal offense) if you are said to have no knowledge of the suspension. If there is evidence, however, that DHSMV has sent you a suspension notice by mail, then you are facing criminal charges. The first offense is a second-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to 60 days in jail, six months of probation, and a $500 fine. A second offense is a first-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail, a year of probation, and a $1000 fine.
If you become a Habitual Traffic Offender, you are now facing five years in prison for driving with a suspended license. You can become a Habitual Traffic Offender, or HTO, by getting three misdemeanor DWLS charges within a five-year period, and pleading "guilty" or "no contest" to those charges. The accumulation of too many points on your driving record can also make you an HTO.
If your license has been suspended, you don't have to get arrested to wait to call a criminal defense attorney who handles suspended license and HTO cases. A Miami-Dade County DWLS attorney may be able to help you get a good license, which will help you avoid getting arrested in the first place.
If you have already been arrested, we may be able to work out your case so that if you can obtain a good license, the criminal charge may be dropped.
Even if you are deemed a Habitual Traffic Offender and are facing felony charges, you can contact me to evaluate your case to see if you can obtain a good license, or even a hardship license so that you may drive to work and school. These measures may ensure the best outcome on your case, as well as the reinstatement of your driving privileges.