Is Driving on a Suspended or Revoked License a Crime?
There are two different types of Jacksonville traffic tickets that a police officer may issue for driving on a suspended license. One is a criminal charge. The other is a civil traffic infraction similar to a Florida speeding ticket. If you are given the civil traffic ticket, you have the opportunity to pay the ticket without going to court. If you just pay the ticket, you will be adjudicated guilty of the offense. While this is not a criminal conviction, it could cause you to become a habitual traffic offender in Jacksonville. Your status as a habitual traffic offender will depend on your driving record.
If you receive a ticket for driving on a suspended or revoked license in Jacksonville, it may be criminal. One of the ways to know that this ticket is a criminal citation is based on the fact that you must set a court date. Either you or your Jacksonville criminal lawyer will need to set a court date in order to appear for the criminal offense. If you plea guilty or no contest to the charge, you could be convicted of the crime. This will put a criminal conviction on your Florida criminal background.
How Does a Driving on a Suspended or Revoked License Ticket Become a Criminal Charge?
Florida law makes driving on a suspended or revoked license a crime if it is done with knowledge. Florida case law states, “Under section 322.34(2), Florida Statutes (2001), an individual is guilty of the criminal offense of driving with a suspended license if he or she drives a motor vehicle in the state of Florida while knowing of such suspension.”
In order to determine knowledge for the purpose of driving on a suspended license, you must look at a portion of Florida Statute Section 322.34. When the State Attorney’s Office prosecutes a knowingly driving on a suspended or revoked license case, they are required to satisfy what is know as the “knowledge element.” The Florida 4th District Court of Appeals focused on the language of Section 322.34 applying to the knowledge element. This law states:
“The element of knowledge is satisfied if the person has been previously cited as provided in subsection (1); or the person admits to knowledge of the cancellation, suspension, or revocation; or the person received notice as provided in subsection (4). There shall be a rebuttable presumption that the knowledge requirement is satisfied if a judgment or order as provided in subsection (4) appears in the department’s records for any case except for one involving a suspension by the department for failure to pay a traffic fine or for a financial responsibility violation.” Fla. Stat. § 322.34 (Quest v. State, 837 So. 2d 1106, 1107 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 2003))
Continue reading “Knowledge Required for Driving on Suspended License in Florida” on the Jacksonville attorneys website for more on the Quest court’s decision.