People can have their driving privileges revoked for a wide variety of reasons. In some cases, a driverís license suspension can occur as the result of repeated citations for traffic infractions. A driver can also face revoked driving privileges if they have been held responsible for a serious traffic accident or if they have been found guilty of certain charges, such as driving while intoxicated (DWI) charges.
Whatever the reason for the initial license suspension, drivers who operate a vehicle despite having their driving privileges revoked can face serious criminal charges and penalties if they are stopped by a police officer.
Why are Driverís Licenses Suspended?
One of the most common causes for the suspension of a person's driver's license is known as a habitual traffic suspension. This suspension occurs when a driver accumulates a certain number of moving violations while driving. For example, if a driver is convicted of four separate speeding offenses in one year, their license can be revoked. This suspension can also apply if a person is convicted of seven or more moving violations in two years.
An automatic license suspension can occur if a person is convicted of intoxicated manslaughter charges, fleeing the scene of an accident that caused serious injuries or death, fleeing law enforcement in a vehicle or DWI. In these circumstances, the convicted person will have their driving privileges immediately revoked.
Penalties for Driving With a Suspended License
The legal penalties for driving on a suspended license are usually separated into two categories: fines and additional suspension time. However, it is possible for additional punishments to be added if the convicted driver has a history of driving infractions. Some punishments include:
*Knowingly and intentionally driving under a suspended license is a Class C misdemeanor that is punishable by a maximum $500 fine.
*If a driver has previously been arrested for DWI, driving on a suspended license can be upgraded to a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in a county jail.
*If a person's driving privileges have been revoked, and they are caught driving, they may face additional suspension time equal to the original suspension period. For example, if a driver is arrested for driving on a suspended license while under a three-month suspension period, they can face an additional three months of revoked driving privileges.
Defending Against Oneís Charges
A criminal lawyer may be able to fight charges of driving with a suspended license. The defense lawyer may argue that their client was not properly informed of the license suspension and so had no way of knowing that they were breaking the law.
If the suspension is traffic ticket related, an attorney can contest the suspension in a hearing before a local Justice of the peace as long as the suspension is timely filed.
Please contact the Gilligan Law Firm, L.L.P to schedule a FREE consultation at (713) 529-9200.