In Miami-Dade and Broward, it is not uncommon to receive a bench warrant for a DWLS (driving while license suspended) charge simply because you did not know to go to court.
Many DWLS and even NVDL (no valid drivers license) charges do not result in physical arrests. You are likely issued a citation by the officer. This is a promise to appear (PTA) which means that you must appear in court. Sometimes the court date is not legible, or the officer tells you that you will receive a court date in the mail and you don't.
Either way, a thousand things can go wrong and most of the time, they do. The clerk’s office will send notice to an old address. Maybe the notice got lost in the mail or wasn’t sent out at all.
But unlike crimes that are not traffic-related, a bench warrant for a DWLS, NVDL, reckless driving, leaving the scene of an accident (LSA) or DUI will result in a drivers license suspension, also known as a “D6.”
This creates a dual problem. On one hand, you have a bench warrant. On the other, you may be driving around with a suspended license. So if you get stopped for a traffic offense, you may find yourself arrested for both the bench warrant and a DWLS charge.
If you get arrested or issued a promise to appear for any criminal traffic offense, it’s important to check the Clerk of Courts database to see when your court date is scheduled.
Miami-Dade’s Traffic Clerk of Courts database will permit you to look up your case by name, drivers license number, or ticket number.
Broward’s Clerk of Courts database requires your name, case number, or ticket number.
If you had a court date in Miami-Dade or Broward, you missed it, your license is now suspended, and you are seeking the services of a criminal defense attorney, call me.