Felony Driving While License Suspended
While the crime of driving while license suspended, revoked, canceled, or disqualified (often referred to as simply DWLS) is usually a misdemeanor offense in Florida, some people can face felony charges. In some cases, the enhanced charges are the result of previous DWLS convictions.
Even individuals accused of driving while license suspended for the first time can be charged with felony offenses if they were alleged habitual traffic offenders (HTOs). Felony convictions for DWLS carry much steeper consequences for alleged offenders, including more time in prison and much bigger fines.Lawyer for Felony Driving While License Suspended in Broward County, FL
Were you recently arrested in South Florida for an alleged felony DWLS offense? Do not say anything to authorities without legal counsel. Contact The Hoffman Firm today.
Evan A. Hoffman is an experienced criminal defense attorney in Fort Lauderdale who defends clients accused of various traffic crimes in Hollywood, Miramar, Plantation, Hallandale Beach, Margate, and many surrounding areas of Broward County. Call (954) 524-4474 right now to have our lawyer review your case and answer all of your legal questions during a free initial consultation.
Overview of Felony Driving While License Suspended Arrests in Fort Lauderdale
- How can people be punished if convicted of this crime?
- When do alleged offenders become HTOs?
- Where can I learn more about felony driving while license suspended in Broward County?
Florida Felony Driving While License Suspended Penalties
Under Florida Statute § 322.34, driving while license suspended, revoked, canceled, or disqualified is a third-degree felony when:
- The offense is an alleged offender’s third or subsequent conviction;
- The alleged offender drove while his or her license was revoked pursuant to being classified as an HTO;
- The alleged offender drove while his or her license was canceled, suspended, or revoked, and by careless or negligent operation of the motor vehicle caused the death of or serious bodily injury to another human being; and
- The alleged offender drove a commercial motor vehicle while his or her driver license or driving privilege was canceled, suspended, revoked, or disqualified and he or she has been previously convicted of DWLS.
Third-degree felony convictions in Florida are punishable by up to five years in prison and/or a maximum fine of $5,000.
Habitual Traffic Offender Status in Broward County
People can be classified as HTOs under Florida Statute § 322.264 if they accumulate a specified number of convictions for offenses described in Florida Statute § 322.264(1) or Florida Statute § 322.264(2) within a five-year period. Under Florida Statute § 322.264(1), a person will be designated as an HTO if his or her record, as maintained by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV), shows three or more convictions of any one or more of the following offenses arising out of separate acts:
- Any driving under the influence (DUI) violation;
- Any felony in the commission of which a motor vehicle is used;
- Driving a motor vehicle while his or her license is suspended or revoked;
- Driving a commercial motor vehicle while his or her privilege is disqualified;
- Failing to stop and render aid as required under the laws of this state in the event of a motor vehicle crash resulting in the death or personal injury of another; or
- Voluntary or involuntary manslaughter resulting from the operation of a motor vehicle.
Florida Statute § 322.264(2) also establishes that people can be classified as HTOs if they accumulate 15 convictions for moving traffic offenses for which points may be assessed as set forth in Florida Statute § 322.27. Some of the offenses listed under that statute include, but are not limited to:
- Unlawful speed not in excess of 15 miles per hour of lawful or posted speed;
- Unlawful speed in excess of 15 miles per hour of lawful or posted speed;
- Unlawful speed, or unlawful use of a wireless communications device, resulting in a crash;
- Leaving the scene of a crash resulting in property damage of more than $50;
- Passing a stopped school bus;
- Reckless driving, willful and wanton; and
- A violation of a traffic control signal device as provided in Florida Statute § 316.074(1) or Florida Statute § 316.075(1)(c)1.
Florida Felony Driving While License Suspended Resources
Burgess v. State, 198 So. 3d 1151 (Fla. 2d DCA 2016) — Donald Burgess was convicted of driving while his license was revoked, but appealed the denial of his motion to dismiss because he had never actually been issued a driver's license. The Second District Court of Appeals agreed with Burgess, reversing his judgment and sentence ordering the trial court on remand to immediately vacate the judgment for the felony offense, dismiss the felony charge, and determine, as a result, whether Burgess was entitled to immediate release. The Second District noted that in reversing Burgess’s conviction, it was receding from its decision in Carroll v. State, 761 So. 2d 417, 419 (Fla. 2d DCA 2000) and certified conflict with Newton v. State, 898 So.2d 1133, 1134 (Fla. 4th DCA 2005), and State v. Bletcher, 763 So.2d 1277, 1278 (Fla. 5th DCA 2000), which followed Carroll in unelaborated per curiam decisions.
Driver License Suspensions | Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) — On this section of the DHSMV website, you can learn how to reinstate a license revoked for inadequate vision or after a suspension for a violation (not DUI-related) resulting in death or serious bodily injury. You can also find information about how to clear unpaid tickets, revocation as an HTO, and suspensions for being delinquent in child support. The website also has answers to frequently asked questions.
If you were arrested for a felony DWLS offense anywhere in South Florida, it will be in your best interest to quickly seek legal representation. The Hoffman Firm represents individuals in communities in and around Broward County, such as Pompano Beach, Pembroke Pines, Davie, Lauderhill, Cooper City, and many others.
Fort Lauderdale criminal defense lawyer Evan A. Hoffman has experience handling these types of cases on both sides of the aisle because of his prior role as a former Assistant State Attorney in the Broward County State Attorney’s Office. He can provide a complete evaluation of your case as soon as you call (954) 524-4474 or fill out an online contact form today to schedule a free, confidential consultation.