Orlando DWLS Defense Attorney
Driving While License Suspended is one of the most commonly-charged misdemeanors in Orange County. Despite its frequency, many inexperienced or lethargic attorneys do not fully understand this charge. They are either not aware of the possible resolutions or do not know how to defend these cases properly. If you do not fight first-time DWLS charges, a subsequent offense could be a felony and the DMV might revoke (not suspend) your license for up to five years.
The experienced and energetic DWLS defense lawyers at Sercombe Law never settle for an average result. Because of our experience, we know about obscure legal loopholes that may change the outcome of a criminal defense. Additionally, because of our energy, we never look for a quick plea deal as a way to get things over with. Instead, we always construct and present a diligent defense, regardless of the charges or circumstances.
Elements of the Offense
In many states, there is essentially a presumption of guilt in DWLS cases. Sometimes, the judge presumes that the defendant’s license was properly suspended unless the driver presents evidence to the contrary. But in Florida, DWLS has three basic elements which the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt:
- Actual Suspension: In Florida, the state can suspend your license for a number of different reasons. Some of them, like failure to pay child support or submit to a genetic test, have nothing to do with driving safety. But whatever the reason, the driver’s license must have been under suspension at the time of the offense, and the DMV does make mistakes in this area.
- Notice of Suspension: Florida is unique in that the state must prove actual knowledge. True, if the DMV mailed the suspension notice to the defendant’s address of record, there is a very strong presumption that the defendant received the notice. But people move a lot, so the address of record is often outdated.
- Public Place: Mall parking lots, even if they have street names and traffic control devices, are not public places. The same thing applies in certain other areas as well. So, Section 322.24’s requirement of driving “upon the highways of this state” is not always easy to prove.
If the state cannot prove every element beyond a reasonable doubt, the jury must exonerate the defendant.
How Orlando DWLS Defense Attorneys Resolve These Charges
There is an old saying that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. That saying is often true, especially in this context.
If the state suspends your drivers’ license for any reason, such as too many traffic tickets, a DWLS defense lawyer can probably obtain an occupational drivers’ license. Depending on the facts of the case, an ODL could allow motorists to driver to and from work, to and from school, and for many other reasons if they have a hardship and meet certain qualifications. For these driving purposes, an ODL is as good as a regular drivers’ license.
If the state revoked your license, an ODL may not be an option. Revocation is permanent, and suspension is normally temporary.
An administrative resolution might also be available. If the defendant qualifies, this resolution could mean no criminal record. It basically lowers DWLS to the level of an ordinary traffic ticket, like speeding.
A DWLS conviction could mean harsh consequences, but defendants have options in these cases. For a free consultation with a DWLS defense attorney in Orlando, contact Sercombe Law. We routinely handle matters in Orange County and nearby jurisdictions.
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