When charged with Driving While License Suspended (DWLS) you must tread carefully. Simply pleading guilty or no contest could result in your becoming a Habitual Traffic Offender (HTO). This means that you will lose your Florida driver's license for five years.
What you should always try to do when facing a DWLS charge in South Florida is fix your license so that you are eligible to reinstate. This will normally be very helpful in obtaining a good result, such as a reduction in charge to No Valid Driver's License (NVDL), which will not result in your becoming an HTO. In some instances, a good license may persuade the State Attorney to dismiss your case.
Whatever the situation may be, a DWLS charge is nothing to take lightly. You will want to do everything in your power to see that you are not putting yourself on the path to becoming an HTO.
If you cannot get a good license, find out if you are eligible for a Pretrial Diversion program. Miami-Dade County and Broward County both have diversion programs for DWLS offenders.
If you cannot qualify for a Pretrial Diversion program due to a prior criminal record, can you afford to plead no contest and accept a withhold of adjudication? Remember - a withhold of adjudication to a DWLS with knowledge charge (criminal charge) can still lead to your becoming an HTO. The Florida DHSMV makes no distinction between a withhold and an adjudication.
If you cannot get a good license or enter into a program or accept a withhold, is your case strong enough to defend at trial? Speak with a criminal defense attorney to discuss the specific defenses available. Were you notified of your suspension? Were you actually operating the vehicle? Those are just a few questions that could lead to viable defenses to the charge.
In any event, it is best to keep your license valid. If you get a traffic ticket, address it properly, either by hiring a ticket lawyer, attending traffic school, or handling the ticket yourself in court. Paying a ticket online is NEVER a good idea (points are automatically assessed).
By keeping your driver's license valid, you will never have to worry about being arrested for Driving While License Suspended. But if you do get arrested for this charge, call me and I would be happy to discuss your case with you.