Driving While License Suspended or Revoked
On its face, getting a "Driving While License Suspended or Revoked" or "DWLS" charge may appear to be a routine traffic ticket since in some cases, a defendant may be given the option to pay a ticket in lieu of appearing in court. While there are many ways a person's driver's license can be suspended, a DWLS charge is much more serious than the average traffic ticket.
First, there are many ways a person's license can be suspended. For example, if a person doesn't pay child support or maintain proper insurance, their driver's license can be suspended. If they have two possession of marijuana convictions or have a DUI conviction or arrest, a defendant's license may be suspended. Another common suspension is when a driver picks up 12 points of moving violations (like speeding tickets) within a one year time frame.
Second, there are two types DWLS tickets-- the DWLS "without knowledge" charge is a civil infraction punishable by a fine and DWLS "with knowledge" is a criminal traffic offenses that can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony and can be punished by jail or prison time and/or a fine depending on a defendant's traffic history. The "without knowledge" and "with knowledge" charge are distinguishable by whether the driver had or did not have personal knowledge of the license suspension.
Finally, besides potential incarceration, DWLS charges- regardless of whether they are charged as the civil infraction or a criminal traffic offense-- can have serious ramifications on driving privileges. If a person receives three (3) DWLS, Reckless Driving or DUIs in a five (5) year period, their license can be revoked for five years. Once this occurs, State Prosecutors and the DHSMV will label a defendant with this type of driving history as a Habitual Traffic Offender (or 'HTO").
It is easy to be confused if you have received a DWLS ticket, but you must be cautious- just paying the DWLS ticket or pleading guilty or "no contest" to a criminal DWLS charge may put you in jeopardy of becoming a HTO and getting your license suspended for five years. Do not just pay these tickets, call an attorney first. The Law Offices of Whittel & Melton have handled many different types of DWLS cases and are ready to help you decide what the best course of action is for your unique situation and assist you in obtaining valid driver's license.
If you, or someone you love, have been charged with Driving While License Suspended or Revoked, contact us online or call 1-866-608-5LAW (5529).