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Have you been driving on a suspended license? You may want to think twice…

The Florida legislature just enacted a new statute 322.34 that came in effect on October 1, 2019. What this new law provides for is more enhanced and almost mandatory penalties for driving on a suspended license. You can be charged for driving on a suspended license for a multitude of reasons which includes:

  • License was suspended
  • License was canceled
  • You didn’t have driving privileges in the first place

 

If you have knowledge that you shouldn’t be out driving because of a suspended or canceled license, you can be stopped by the police and charged criminally.

 

1st Offense

The first driving with a suspended license charge is typically a misdemeanor.

2nd Offense

A second charge is now able to be charged as a 1st-degree misdemeanor.

  • Note: a 1st-degree misdemeanor in Florida has a maximum fine up too $1,000 or a year incarceration in the County Jail.

3rd Offense

According to the new law in the state of Florida, if you are caught driving with a suspended license on a third offense, you are sentenced with 10 days in County Jail. The way the law is written makes it difficult for state attorneys and the judge to have discretion in administering that jail sentence.

 

What you need to look out for is, once you have one or two charges, you need to keep in mind that if you are caught a third time, even for something simple, you ARE going to be looking at 10 days in county jail.

 

There is an additional requirement for this law and that there must be the knowledge that you have a suspended license. If you knew you were driving on a suspended license or should have known you are driving on a suspended license, then this law applies. The excuse of “I don’t check my mail so I didn’t know” will not apply in these situations.

 

Reasons why your license could be suspended:

 

  • Unpaid child support in a way that is prescribed by the state
  • Old unpaid tickets
  • Criminal reasons (DUI, possession charges, etc.)
  • Court fines and outstanding costs

 

It is important to keep in mind that since this change in the law, there is a much larger penalty to that offense of driving with a suspended license.

 

How to avoid jail time:

 

Stay on top of payments and costs

Whenever a fine goes unpaid for an amount of time, the initial total can go up to 40% on top of collection fees and being turned into a creditor, once you reach that point, it can be a tricky web in cleaning up these incurred costs. 

Avoid driving with a suspended license

Even if you are making a short trip down the street, there is always the possibility of being pulled over and stopped by law enforcement.

 

The attorneys at Busciglio Sheridan Schoeb have a great deal of experience in dealing with these cases and would be more than happy to provide more information on how we can help your case. Give us a call at (813) 225-2695 if you or someone you know is driving on a suspended license and want to avoid jail time.

 

 

Are SUIs (scooter DUIs) a thing?

We are all aware that it is illegal to drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol, however, what about those shared electric scooters that are popping up in cities all over the United States? Florida is known for unusual and strange headlines and DUIs are no different. We’ve had DUIs on riding lawn mowers, golf carts, even on a horse.

 

We have seen the scooters popping up here in Tampa, most popular being Lime and Bird. These are the shared electric scooters that you stand on and rent for a short period of time. Something that tends to go hand and hand with these types of scooters is drinking… so let’s start with the DUI statute.

Bird electric scooter

What constitutes a DUI in the state of Florida?

You could be arrested or ultimately convicted of DUI if you are found to be:

Driving or in actual physical control of a vehicle within the state and either:

 

Your normal faculties are impaired

OR

Your breath alcohol reading of .08 or higher

 

How does an officer determine if your normal faculties are impaired?

Officers look for obvious symptoms such as:

  • The odor of alcohol
  • Cans or open containers in your vehicle
  • Bloodshot, watery, or glassy eyes
  • HGN (Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test )

 

Should you submit to a breath test?

In general, you should not submit a breath test unless you are absolutely certain you have had nothing to drink and your breathalyzer result will be 000. If you have submitted a breathalyzer test and it has resulted in a DUI, make sure you speak with the attorneys of Busciglio Sheridan Schoeb to evaluate how we can defend your case.

There are important factors to consider before refusing to submit a breath sample. The most important factor is that you will lose your drivers license.

 

What is considered a vehicle under the Florida statutes and are scooters included?

A vehicle in the Florida statues is defined as: Every device in, upon, or by which any person or property is or may be transported or drawn upon a highway.

Specifically, the definition of a motorized scooter is defined as a vehicle. A motorized scooted IS a vehicle not having a seat or a saddle, therefore the answer is…

YES!

You CAN get a DUI on an electric scooter.

If you or someone you know has received a DUI riding an electric scooter, give us a call at (813) 225-2695 to find out how we can help defend your case.