Every year, thousands of Floridians are charged with Driving With a Suspended License or Driving Without a License (also called No Valid Driver’s License, or NVDL). Both charges carry criminal misdemeanor penalties for the accused if convicted. One reason so many people in Florida are driving without a valid license is Florida’s financial responsibility laws. These laws allow the DMV to suspend a driver’s license if certain financial obligations are not met. For example, not paying a parking ticket, missing child support payments, or forgoing car insurance.
No matter the reason an individual’s license was suspended, they do not have to plead guilty to a charge of driving without a license or driving with a suspended license. Pleading guilty could result in a criminal record for the individual and there is usually a way to get the charges reduced or dismissed. Anyone currently facing a charge of Driving Without a License or Driving With a Suspended License should note that there are small but significant differences between these two charges.
In order to be convicted of driving with a suspended license, an individual has to be aware that they were driving with a license that has been suspended or revoked at the time they were stopped. It’s possible that the individual did not receive a notice in the mail because their residence changed, or the mail was delayed and the individual missed the warning letter. It’s also possible to question the legal validity of the traffic stop. If the individual was pulled over without probable cause, it’s possible to get the driving without a license or driving with suspended license charges dropped. If the individual’s license was actually reinstated at the time of the stop, or they had reason to believe it was reinstated, this could also be a reason to drop the charges.
One key difference between driving without a license and driving with a suspended license is that it doesn’t matter if the individual was aware that they were driving without a valid license. Possible defenses for Driving without a license include:
• Lack of evidence
• Unlawful traffic stop
• Detention after the stop was not lawful
• The defendant was not driving on a public street
If you have been arrested for any driving related charge, an experienced attorney can work to negotiate with prosecutors to have the charges reduced. If you have been charged with driving with a suspended license or driving without a license, contact the expert attorneys at Harris Guidi Rosner P.A.
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