Driving is a critical part of adult life. From work to school, it’s vital you can drive to the places you need to be. If your license is suspended due to a DWI conviction, unpaid citations or child-support payments, or an excessive number of traffic violations, then you know firsthand the consequences of a license suspension.
However, the effects of these challenges should never cause you to disregard this suspension and get behind the wheel. If you’re caught driving with a suspended license, you will only face a more challenging road ahead.
Driving During a Suspension Is a Crime
When the court suspends, revokes, or cancels your license, this is a legal judgment. When you ignore this and drive anyway, you are committing a crime and will be charged accordingly. If your license is suspended, meaning you only lose your ability to legally drive temporarily, then you could face up to a $1,000 fine and 90 days in jail.
If your license is canceled, meaning the decision is permanent, you face a larger fine and up to one year behind bars.
You May Have a Suspension Defense
Driving with a suspended license doesn’t necessarily mean intentional guilt. You may have a defense against the charges being brought against you; here are some of the options you may have.
Human error is a real thing, and clerk and court workers may have made an error. If you have no reason to believe your license should be suspended, then there is always the possibility that information was put into the system incorrectly.
For example, if you paid a citation, but it was not marked as paid or if a suspension was mistakenly placed under the wrong name. An attorney can investigate the validity of the suspension or cancellation.
Life is full of unpredictability. You may find yourself in a desperate situation where a child is in need of emergency medical attention, and you’re the only adult in the home. When someone with a suspended license gets behind the wheel for a valid emergency, they may be able to use this as a defense.
Keep in mind; you can still be charged with a violation in this instance, as it is up to the prosecutor or judge to excuse the charge.
It’s important to note that it’s not a plausible defense to claim you didn’t know about your license suspension, as your license can legally be suspended without formal notice. If you’re pulled over, and the officer informs you that your license is suspended, then this may be the only notice you receive.
Your Pre-Sentencing Actions Matter
When you are charged with driving after revocation or cancellation, and plead guilty, understand that your case is not finalized. Even in cases where a plea agreement is reached until the sentence and judgment have been made on the case, the outcome is very much in the air. Every action you take during the period leading up to your sentencing will impact your case.
If you’re caught driving again before the case is closed, then the value of any fine you owe could be increased, as well as the length of any potential jail sentence. Make certain you stay off the road, not just until your case is settled — until your license is reinstated.
If you have been charged with driving with a suspended license, an attorney on your side is vital. An attorney will help you defend yourself against these charges and ensure your legal rights are protected. At Mesenbourg & Sarratori Law Office, P.A., we are here to provide you with this assistance. Learn how we can help you.