Utilizing The DMV’s Website
Eric J. Dirga, P.A., Orlando – Statewide Service
Your driver’s license is one of your most valuable possessions. It is important to make sure you maintain its valid status. If you are worried about it you should probably check before you decide to drive.
Checking If Your Driver’s License Is Valid
There are a couple of ways to check your driver’s license status. You could call or visit the DMV [Department] or, better yet, just look up your status on their very good website (will not work on a smartphone). The personnel at their offices may not be 100% up-to-speed but their IT people are good. You’ll need to know your driver’s license number and once you enter it the information you gain is quite impressive.
If Your License Is Suspended
If you get to the information indicating your license is suspended – copy it and send it to me at my email address. Include your name and your cell phone number.
Why Your License Is Suspended
When you check your DL status using the link above you will not only find out if it is valid or suspended, you will also find out why it is suspended. The typical reasons are that you forgot to resolve a ticket, you forgot to pay a late fee or provide proof of compliance for a ticket, you owe money to the court, or you have received a legislative suspension.
But You Were Told By … To Do …
Many people tell me that they just did what they were told. The Clerk at the Courthouse or the guy at the DMV said to do this or that and you received a new suspension after you did what they said to do. The employees of the Clerk of Court and the Department are trying to be helpful. However, they only know what occurs in their respective offices. They do not know the law.
There are many ways to have your license suspended and some of these are the result of trying to fix a suspension the way someone told you to. Be forewarned, your situation may need the assistance of an attorney to fix. If you are in this situation contact my office.
What To Do If Your License Is Suspended
If you check the status of your driver’s license and it is suspended or revoked there are several things you must do:
- First, do not drive. If you are caught driving knowing your license is suspended it is a criminal offense.
- Second, look carefully at the information on the page showing the status of your license. The DL Check will tell you why it is suspended or revoked.
- Finally, start a plan on how you will fix this and how you’ll get your license back.
- Above all, DO NOT JUST START PAYING OFF UNPAID TICKETS. That is the surest way to find yourself in a deeper hole than when you started.
Usually, the fix required to reinstate your driver’s license will involve money. It will involve paying old tickets (be careful), paying late fees, paying reinstatement fees. This will amount to a significant amount of money you would rather spend on something else, so do not add to it by driving while your license is suspended.
Do Not Drive Until Your Driver’s License Has Been Reinstated
The number one thing to remember is not to drive if your license has been suspended. More people go to jail for this daily than any other offense. If that happens you then have to deal with the cost of defending yourself in court and the costs grow exponentially.
What Happens If Caught Driving On Suspended License
If you are caught driving and receive a Driving With A Suspended License citation, do not treat it like a normal ticket. You should consider obtaining speaking with an attorney.
Two Types Of Driving With A Suspended License Tickets;
The first thing to understand is that a citation for driving with a suspended driver’s license comes in two forms. The first is driving without knowledge of the suspension. This is a civil traffic infraction and is presented like an ordinary ticket. However, you need to be very careful on how you handle this ticket. Do not just pay it because it can lead to a 5-year suspension.
The second is driving with knowledge your license is suspended. This is a criminal infraction. When this ticket is issued to you the police officer has the option of taking you to jail or giving you a notice to appear (which is usually the ticket itself). You should seek professional legal help whenever you are issued either type of suspended driving ticket.
Both Types Are Serious
Both types are serious because both can lead to you being designated as a Habitual Traffic Offender. This results in a 5-year suspension. I would suggest that the civil infraction is more insidious than the criminal charge because it is cloaked in benign attire that leads most people into underestimating the damage it can cause.
You Can Go To Jail For Driving With A Suspended License
Yes, you can go to jail for this infraction – even if you didn’t know your driver’s license was suspended. It is the law enforcement officer that decides whether you had knowledge or not. That may not make sense to you but accept it as fact. The issuance of the criminal citation does not depend on your actual knowledge. It is based on what the law enforcement officer believes (whether true or not).
Repetitive Stops for Driving While License Suspended
If you get caught driving with a suspended license after you have received a DWLS ticket you can expect a trip to the jail. Additionally, your bond may be higher. Moreover, the Driving With A Suspended License offense is a cumulative charge. This means that each additional criminal ticket you receive can be charged at a higher level all the way up to a third degree felony.
Contact my office for help with this situation.