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Felony Driving While Suspended

Driving with a suspended, revoked, disqualified or cancelled license is normally charged as a misdemeanor in Florida. However, certain circumstances can bump these charges up to the felony-level, which means lengthier prison sentences and steeper fines.

Having prior driving while suspended (DWLS) convictions or being labeled as a habitual traffic offender can enhance your charge to a felony. In either scenario, it’s recommended you have legal representation. A felony conviction is incredibly serious and could even impact you post-release. Many felons in society have issues obtaining employment, housing and maintaining close personal relationships.

Attorney for Felony DWLS in West Palm Beach, FL

A felony charge of DWLS is nothing to take lightly. You could be sentenced to prison, have your license revoked and endure the stigma associated with convicted felons. If you or someone you know has been charged with a driving while on a suspended license, it’s in your best interest to exercise your right to remain silent until you have legal representation.

West Palm Beach attorneys at Meltzer & Bell, P.A. are ready to defend you and your rights. Our team of attorneys want to use our vast experience with traffic law to your case. Call us today at (561) 557-8686 and we will set up your first consultation free. Meltzer & Bell, P.A. represents people throughout the greater Palm Beach county area including West Palm Beach, Jupiter, Delray Beach and Wellington.

Overview of Felony DWLS in Florida


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Why Did My License Get Suspended in Florida?

The state of Florida could have suspended, canceled, or disqualified your license for several reasons. Technically if you violate the directives of the court regarding a traffic offense you could be suspended. Most suspended licenses occur because the person was charged with a traffic misdemeanor or was in contempt.

Florida’s Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) handles all driving records and licensing in Florida. They determine who has their license by a points system. Having too many points on your record can lead to the suspension and even the eventual revocation of your license. DHSMV, however, does give a 10-day window for you to schedule a hearing and contest it in front of a hearing officer.

If you had accumulated 12 points within 12 months, then your license will be suspended up to 30 days. Accruing 18 points within 18 months will result in up to a three-month suspension term. However, if your record determines 24 points within 36 months, then you will be suspended for up to one year.

Some common traffic violations and crimes that can lead to a suspended license include:

  • Failure to pay traffic tickets;
  • Failure to submit a vision report (Inadequate/Field of Vision);
  • Having certain medical conditions;
  • Failure to appear in court;
  • Failure to complete court-ordered school;
  • 15 unexcused school absences in 90 days;
  • Being designated as an HTO;
  • Convictions for certain criminal traffic offenses;
  • Convictions for certain drug and theft offenses;
  • Convictions for driving under the influence (DUI);
  • Failing driving tests;
  • Failure to comply with traffic summons;
  • Failure to maintain automobile insurance;
  • Failure to pay child support;
  • Failure to pay civil judgment, court costs, or fines;
  • Non-DUI traffic violation resulting in death or serious bodily injury; or
  • Refusal to submit to DUI chemical test

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Driving on a Suspended License as an HTO

In Florida, having a felony DWLS charge means you did one of two things: had two prior DWLS convictions or was labeled as a habitual traffic offender (HTO). Habitual traffic offenders are identified by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) by their driving record. If you commit the following within 5 months, then DHSMV will label you as an HTO.

  • Three or more convictions for any of the following:
    • Voluntary or involuntary vehicular manslaughter;
    • Driving under the influence;
    • A felony where a vehicle was used during the crime;
    • Failing to stop and render aid after a crash that resulted in serious injury or death of another person;
    • Driving a commercial motor vehicle with a disqualified license; OR
  • Fifteen convictions for moving traffic offenses where points were applied

A moving traffic offense is simply a violation such as speeding and running a stop sign or light.

Habitual traffic offenders who have a suspended license will automatically be charged with a felony. The reasoning for this is because the state of Florida wants to punish reckless drivers and ensure their streets are safe for the public.


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Penalties for a Felony Driving with a Suspended License Charge in FL

Driving with a suspended license can become a serious charge due to certain circumstances. Having two prior DWLS convictions or being labeled as a habitual traffic offender could result in felony charges. The highest DWLS charge you can receive is a third-degree felony, which includes a maximum sentence of:

  • Up to five years in prison; and
  • A fine of up to $5,000

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Additional Resources

Florida’s Laws for Driving with a Suspended License – Visit the official website for the current Florida Statutes and learn more about the penalties for driving with a suspended license. Read in detail about the points system, how to accrue points and hardship licenses.

Traffic Violations – Visit the official site for the Palm Beach County clerk and learn more about traffic violations that can add points to your record. Access the site to learn more about red light camera violations, handicap parking tickets, no proof of insurance and others.


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Defense Lawyer for Felony DWLS in West Palm Beach, FL

If you or someone you know has been charged with DWLS on the felony-level, it’s not just suggested but necessary for you to hire an attorney. The penalties associated with felony charges are incredibly serious and do include prison time. For dedicated counsel with experience, call Meltzer & Bell, P.A..

At Meltzer & Bell, P.A., we will research and utilize all our resources to discover legal options for your case. Our attorneys have been practicing for decades collectively and can use this gathered knowledge to help you. Call us now at (561) 557-8686 to schedule your first consultation free.

Meltzer & Bell, P.A. represents people throughout the greater Palm Beach County area including Jupiter, Delray Beach, Palm Beach, West Palm Beach, and Delray Beach.


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