Gainesville Personal Injury, Divorce and Alimony Attorney

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Changes to Criminal Driving on a Suspended License

Driving on a suspended license can be a criminal or civil case in Florida. Too many charges of driving while suspended can result in a 5-year revocation of a driver’s license as a habitual offender.

Until recently, a third or subsequent criminal violation of driving under suspension could have been a third-degree felony. A third-degree felony is punishable by up to 5 years in prison.  People have been sentenced to prison for the offense of driving to work with a suspended license.

Effective October 2019, part of the criminal justice reform, the driving on suspended law changed. Now, a second offense of driving while suspended will be a first-degree misdemeanor. In many instances, a third offense will also be a first degree misdemanor.  A first-degree misdemeanor is punishable by up to one year in the county jail.  However, for third or subsequent offenses, the law now requires the judge to sentence to a minimum mandatory ten (10) days in jail.  A third offense of driving while suspended where the suspension is for, or if the second was for, DUI, Refusal, causing death, or causing serious bodily injury, are still felonies.  Driving while designated a Habitual Traffic Offender is a felony. punishable by up to five (5) years in prison.

While the criminal justice system reform was meant to lessen the possibilities of sending people to prison for driving, that does not mean that the courts will completely stop incarcerating people. For example, someone that has several prior offenses that may have received a couple years in prison under the old law, will likely still face jail time today, especially with the new minimum. However, the maximum exposure has been radically reduced.

Facing the government on criminal or traffic charges alone can be riskier that it seems. The government will gladly accept money and create a permanent criminal record for anybody appearing before it with a willingness to have a record. Unfortunately, the long-term consequences are not always made clear to unrepresented persons. To hire a lawyer to help in a criminal or civil driving on suspended charge, please click, call or fill out the form.

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