Tampa Criminal Defense
Law Firm Fighting License Suspensions

Driving While License Suspended

Florida Lawyers Challenging License Suspensions and DWLS charges in Tampa, Sarasota and Orlando

A Florida driver’s license suspension can occur in a number of ways including failure to pay a citation, failure to pay child support, too many points or a DUI conviction.  In many cases, a driver is made aware of a license suspension when they are stopped for a traffic infraction unrelated to the license suspension such as unlawful speed, running a stop sign or when law enforcement arrives on the scene of an accident.  Once stopped, an officer requests and reviews the driving history of the driver and if the driver’s license is suspended for some issue, the officer will likely issue a ticket for ‘driving while license suspended.’


Oftentimes, the driver has no knowledge their license is suspended.   The driver may not remember whether they paid a citation; they may have moved from their last known address and have no knowledge of an outstanding citation; or their insurance may have lapsed without their knowledge.  In the cases where the driver has no knowledge their license is suspended, the officer will likely issue a civil infraction for ‘driving while license suspended – without knowledge.’  This is a civil infraction pursuant to Fl. Stat. 322.24, meaning the defendant may simply pay the citation and a court appearance is not required.   Many people don’t realize that payment of this citation will not only result in three points on their license and an increase in insurance rates, but it will also be inputted onto their driving record as a conviction with the possibility of being classified as a Habitual Traffic Offender in the future if they receive more DWLS citations.  .


If a driver is stopped and they have knowledge their license is suspended or they are deemed to have knowledge their license is suspended, the officer will issue a ‘driving while license suspended –with knowledge’ (“DWLS”) criminal citation.  Because it is criminal, the officer has the discretion to take their driver’s license, arrest the driver, provide the driver with a written Notice to Appear in court or a combination of the three.  A criminal DWLS citation is a serious offense, primarily because, when the case is resolved, regardless of whether the defendant was sentenced to an adjudication or a ‘withhold of adjudication’  – it will be inputted on their driving record and contribute to being classified as Habitual Traffic Offender.

Under Florida law, if a driver receives three driving while license suspended citations, it is possible and highly likely they will classified as a Habitual Traffic Offender.  Once classified as a Habitual Traffic Offender, the driver will lose his/her license for five years and will be without the ability to obtain a hardship for one year.

As traffic ticket defense attorneys, we have extensive experience in reviewing the our client’s prior driving record, scrutinizing the pending DWLS citation, working with our client to attempt to acquire a valid license and working towards a favorable court outcome.   A driving while license suspended charge is a serious case and one that can have long standing ramifications on a future driving record.  If you have received a driving While License Suspended ticket – either criminal or civil – we highly encourage you to contact our office to discuss your options and review your driving record.

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