In Florida, you can receive a ticket for driving without a license or for driving on a suspended license with knowledge. While these two offenses seem similar, they carry different consequences. If you receive a ticket for driving without a license, you can have the citation dismissed by presenting a valid driver’s license to the court clerk within a specified time. The citation “driving on a suspended license (DSL) with knowledge” is more serious and potentially carries severe penalties.
Why A License May Be Suspended
A person may have their driver’s license suspended for a variety of reasons including:
- Failure to pay a traffic ticket
- Failure to pay child support
- Lack of automobile insurance
- Drunk driving conviction
- Failure to pay tolls
- Failure to complete court ordered traffic school
- Accumulation of points (for traffic violations)
Many people are unaware that they are driving on a suspended license. They first learn of the circumstance when they are stopped by the police and ticketed.
What You Need To Know
There are three issues to be aware of if you receive a DSL with knowledge ticket. First, the citation comes with an assumption that you knew you were driving with a suspended license. Second, if you pay the fine for the ticket, it is considered an admission of guilt. In other words, by paying the fine you are stating that you knew your license was suspended and chose to drive anyway. It is important that you do not pay the ticket. Instead, accept the court date and present documentation that you were unaware of the suspended license. Better yet, hire an attorney to represent you in this matter.
Third, the reason it is important to challenge the DSL with knowledge citation is that if you receive three within a five year period, your driver’s license will be revoked for five years. Making smart choices when you receive a DSL with knowledge citation can help you avoid this consequence.
What To Do If Your Driver’s License Is Revoked
Even if you’ve had your license revoked under these circumstances, you may be able to have it reinstated. Hire an experienced defense attorney who will file a motion with the judge who had been assigned the DSL with knowledge citations. The motion will request that the judge withhold adjudication of one or more of the tickets or reduce the charges to “no license.” If successful, these defenses will allow you to retain your license and driving privileges.