What Happens When Someone Is Pulled Over While Driving On A Suspended License?
There are a couple of different protocols and there are several different ways the police may handle this. It usually depends on the reason your license is suspended. The officer may be able to give you an NTA or a Notice to Appear in Court in lieu of an actual arrest.
Generally, if the license is suspended for financial reasons or usually something minor, a lot of times, the officer in his or her discretion will give you a notice to appear in court. This saves you the embarrassment and hassle of an actual arrest but your appearance in court will still be required.
Legally, that serves the same as an arrest, and there are certain requirements under the constitution that kick in once someone is arrested and that’s their right to a speedy trial etc. That notice to appear, even though the person is not physically arrested, is legally equivalent to an arrest as far as your constitutional rights are concerned.
The advantage of that is the person won’t have to go to jail, get booked in etc., so the officer has a discretion to give them that notice to appear in court.
So, the person can get a notice to appear in court. That’s a preferable method because it’s not as inconvenient as being arrested with their car being towed and impounded on the spot but they can also arrest the person as well.
Should A Person Give A Statement If The Officer Asks Whether They Were Aware Their License Was Suspended?
It’s important because the person has to realize that they’re facing a criminal charge. In any criminal charge, the person’s liberty and interest is at stake. They can go to jail. So whatever they say or do can be used against them.
If the person finds out that their license is suspended, it’s important for them to exercise their Fifth Amendment right and be silent. More importantly, it’s even a little bit more powerful to exercise your Sixth Amendment right, and that’s for counsel.
So if you do find out that your license is suspended, it’s best to say nothing, say that you didn’t realize that and you’d like to speak to your attorney about it. That protects all of your rights because once you ask for your attorney and your Sixth Amendment right, the officer can’t question you anymore about that charge if it’s criminal and therefore you’re not going to incriminate yourself.
That’s really the key in these cases because you may or may not know that your license is suspended or you may or may not know that you’re committing a crime. And by talking, you may be making some admissions that you don’t realize that you’re making and the prosecutor is going to use those admissions against you in court to strengthen their case and that’s something that could potentially land somebody in jail.
Therefore, it’s always best to say you want your attorney and then go ahead and hire the attorney who can investigate the case and fight for you. Your attorney could potentially correct the reason of the license suspension and negotiate with the prosecutor. So ideally, you do not go to jail on a DWLSR charge.
Consequences Or Penalties For Driving Without A License
The consequences or penalties of driving without a license range all the way from what’s called a Civil Infraction, that would just be a monetary penalty to pay the court, to a criminal second degree misdemeanor, which would be a maximum penalty of 60 days in jail, to a first degree misdemeanor, which would be a maximum penalty of one year in the county jail all the way up to a third degree felony, which would be punishable by up to 5 years in prison.
The level and severity of the criminal charge generally depends on how many prior DWLSRs you have and whether you had knowledge of your DWLSR.
Should Someone Admit To Driving On A Suspended License?
If you don’t make any admissions about whether you knew your license was suspended, then it may be the difference between having a civil DWLSR in which you just have to simply pay a fine versus acknowledging that you knew your license was suspended because you’re like, “Yes, I forgot to pay that. I do remember getting notice.”
In this case, you’ve admitted a crime if you admitted knowledge, and that’s an element that the prosecutor would normally have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt against you. By making a couple of admissions, you may have taken your driving while license suspension (DWLSR) from just a civil penalty where you pay a couple of hundred dollars all the way to a crime where you could be facing jail time.
So there are several different types of DWLSRs and it is determined by your knowledge of the license being suspended as well as on how many priors that you have had.
If you need information on What Happens When Someone Is Found Driving On A Suspended License In Florida, call the law office of Blake & Dorsten P.A. for a free initial consultation at (727) 286-6141 and get the information and legal answers you’re seeking.