Driving While License Suspended

Suspensions and revocations are self-perpetuating. Drivers become trapped within the system. These drivers who can't afford to pay the original fine and may lose their ability to legally get to and from work as a result of the suspension. Many of these drivers then make the decision to drive while suspended or revoked. The suspension results in increased financial obligations through new requirements such as reinstatement fees, court costs and other penalties.

A citation for Driving While License Suspended (DWLS) under Florida Statute Section 322.34 can be classified as a civil traffic infraction (DWLS without knowledge), a criminal traffic misdemeanor (DWLSR with knowledge) or as a felony (DWLSR with knowledge after becoming a habitual traffic offender [HTO] or for third offense with prior forcible felony).

Even the civil version of this charge is particularly serious because any three convictions within a five-year period will result in an automatic five-year revocation of your driver's license. Many people think they are doing the right thing by paying the citation only to learn later that they should have hired an attorney that could have helped them avoid a conviction. The attorneys at Meltzer & Bell, P.A. have experience in these types of cases. We help our clients get their driver's license reinstated. Then we fight to avoid any conviction on the charges.

The attorneys at Meltzer & Bell, P.A. have experience in these types of cases. We help our clients get their driver's license reinstated. Then we fight to avoid any conviction on the charges.

Driving with Suspended License Lawyer in Broward County

If you were cited for driving while license suspended in Miami-Dade County or Broward County,  call us at (561) 515-5834. The criminal defense attorneys at Meltzer & Bell, P.A., "The Traffic Stop," know how important it is to aggressively take on your charges. With experience on both sides of the courtroom, they stand ready to defend your future.

With experience on both sides of the courtroom, they stand ready to defend your future. 


Information Center for Florida DWLS Charges


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Civil Traffic Infraction (DWLS Without Knowledge)

At Meltzer & Bell, P.A., the “Traffic Stop,” our experienced traffic ticket attorneys offer a money back guarantee for civil traffic infractions including civil infractions for driving while license suspended without knowledge not involving a crash — no points, no school or your money back. Some restrictions apply, and court costs and fees may apply, in addition to the attorney fee.

The goal in many cases for DWLS without Knowledge is avoiding an adjudication of guilt by requesting a hearing before a hearing officer or a county court judge. A withhold of adjudication on a civil infraction for DWLS does not count for purpose of a Habitual Traffic Offender revocation.


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Criminal Traffic Misdemeanor (DWLSR with Knowledge)

Florida has enacted an escalating schedule of mandatory fines and a maximum jail sentence depending on whether the offense of Driving While License Suspended, Revoked, Canceled or Disqualified (DWLSR) with knowledge is a first, second or third conviction.

Florida Statutes Section. 775.083 provides for the following fine schedule after a conviction for DWLSR which depends on the number of prior convictions:

  • For a first conviction the fine is not to exceed $500;
  • For a second conviction the fine is not to exceed $1,000;
  • For a third or subsequent conviction (if properly charged as a felony) then the fine is not to exceed $5,000.

Florida Statutes Section 775.082 provides for the following schedule of maximum incarceration:

  • For a first conviction, the jail sentence may not exceed 60 days;
  • For a second conviction the jail sentence may not exceed 1 year; and
  • For a third conviction (if properly charged as a felony) the jail sentence may not exceed 5 years.

A designation for optional penalties for DWLSR requires that the person without a conviction for any prior forcible felony under Florida Statutes Section 776.08 be convicted for driving while license suspended or revoked caused by any of the following:

  • failing to pay child support;
  • failing to pay any other financial obligation as provided in s. 322.245;
  • failing to comply with a civil penalty provided in s. 318.15 by failing to pay following a payment plan, attend a driver improvement school or fails to appear;
  • failing to maintain vehicular insurance as required by Chapter 324; or
  • failure of a minor to attend school as provided in s. 322.091.

If so then the following optional penalties apply:

  • For a first conviction the person commits a misdemeanor in the second degree punishable with a jail term of up to 60 days and a fine not to exceed $500;
  • For a second conviction, the person commits a misdemeanor in the first degree punishable with a jail term of up to 364 days and a fine not to exceed $1,000.

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Felony (DWLSR with Knowledge After Becoming HTO, or for 3rd Offense)

Effective July 1, 2008, Florida passed new limitations to make it harder to prosecute driving while license suspended cases as a felony. Florida Statute Section 322.34(10) provides that a third conviction for DWLSR can only be punished as a felony if the driver has a prior conviction for a forcible felony and the suspension is NOT for a financially related issues. So now most third or subsequent offenses for DWLSR are prosecuted as a first-degree misdemeanor instead of a felony.

Section 322.34(10) provides:

(10)(a) Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, if a person does not have a prior forcible felony conviction as defined in s. 776.08, the penalties provided in paragraph (b) apply if a person's driver's license or driving privilege is canceled, suspended, or revoked for: - Failing to pay child support as provided in s. 322.245 or s. 61.13016; - Failing to pay any other financial obligation as provided in s. 322.245 other than those specified in s. 322.245(1); - Failing to comply with a civil penalty required in s. 318.15; - Failing to maintain vehicular financial responsibility as required by chapter 324; - Failing to comply with attendance or other requirements for minors as set forth in s. 322.091; or - Having been designated a habitual traffic offender under s. 322.264(1)(d) as a result of suspensions of his or her driver's license or driver privilege for any underlying violation listed in subparagraphs 1.-5.

Other common Chapter 322 violations for driver license offenses include:

  • No valid driver’s license under Florida Statutes Section 322.03;
  • Unlawful use of license under Florida Statutes Section 322.212; and
  • Permitting Unauthorized Person to Drive under Florida Statutes Section 322.36.

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Finding a DWLS Attorney in Fort Lauderdale

If you are charged with DWLS under Florida Statute Section 322.24 or another driver license offense then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at Meltzer & Bell, P.A.. We represent clients throughout Broward County and Miami-Dade County on civil and criminal traffic violations.

Call us today at (561) 515-5834 to discuss your case. We represent clients throughout Fort Lauderdale, Miami, Pembroke Pines, Hialeah, Hollywood, Coral Gables, Miramar, Coral Springs, Homestead, Pompano Beach, Cutler Bay, and other cities of South Florida.


This article was last updated on Friday, December 9, 2016.

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