When you think about South Florida, all kinds of great things come to mind like beautiful weather and fantastic food. Of course, you can’t think about most of the areas around here without having visions of snarled traffic leap to the forefront of your mind. We certainly have more than our share of busy thoroughfares transecting this region. Think about how harrowing it can be to complete your daily commute to and from work. Now imagine trying to make that same commute, but without a car or a driver’s license. Unfortunately, public transportation is not always what it could be in South Florida which is just one more important reason to get and keep your Florida driver’s license. Getting your driver’s license is no guarantee that you will keep it. There are innumerable reasons that your license can be suspended, and sometimes that suspension may occur without your knowledge. If you are convicted of driving under the influence, drug possession, or even habitually committing traffic offenses, your license can be suspended. (Keep in mind that driving under the influence can mean alcohol, illicit drugs or even prescription medications. Yes, drug possession still includes weed in the State of Florida, and getting numerous tickets can earn you the label of habitual traffic offender.)
Then there are other reasons that may not be as obvious or that you simply don’t realize are taken so seriously by the state. Take paying child support as one example. Not paying your child support is quite an unfavorable issue with the state. Even if you are paying but are in arears, the state will suspend your driver’s license sooner or later. Driving is considered a privilege and it is one that the state doesn’t mind depriving you of if you fail to financially support your child or children. This action can be ordered by either the court system or the Department of Revenue (DOR). Furthermore, failure to keep up with your child support can result in jail time.
When you bring your child support payments up-to-date, the DOR updates the state’s database and you can get your license reinstated. If this is not the first time you have had your license suspended for this offense, you won’t have to take another exam, but you may find that you are charged a reinstatement fee. The reinstatement fee differs for each time your license is suspended for failing to pay your child support. Another unsettled financial commitment that can result in losing your license is outstanding court costs. If you owe the court system money for unpaid fines or penalties, the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will not hesitate to suspend your license. It doesn’t discriminate over whether it is a civil or criminal judgment. A judgment can be ordered against you for many reasons including if you are involved in an accident and you have no insurance or you cause more damage than the amount of insurance that you carry. Until this kind of debt is satisfied, your license is history.
The most commonly known reason for someone to have their driver’s license suspended is for having too many points against his license. Unlike the television show Whose Line is it Anyway?, the points are not made up and they DO matter. This is the primary reason why a good traffic ticket attorney will advise you to never just pay your traffic ticket. Get 12 points on your license within a 12-month period and your license will be suspended for 30 days; 18 points within an 18-month period and you will find yourself with a 3 month suspension; 24 points in 36 months and you can forget about driving for an entire year. Ultimately, if you have your license suspended for a third time, you will be deemed a habitual traffic offender (HTO) because the court views you as someone who does not respect traffic laws. Not only can this third offense saddle you with the label of HTO, but it can also send you to jail and you will also lose your license for up to five years.
As a traffic ticket attorney, I am seeing an increasing number of incidents of the DMV suspending driver licenses if they think the license has been obtained fraudulently. This can result in a suspension that can last for as much as a year. You do have the right to provide proof that the license is valid, in which case the suspension will be lifted, but if it cannot be proven that the license was obtained correctly, the suspension will not be waived. Obviously, this can cause tremendous inconvenience to your life in how you get around, but also there is a stigma that goes along with it. Many times, others can be quite judgmental and assume that if someone has repeatedly lost his license, he must be reckless. It can impact not only how you get to work, but even whether or not you get or keep a job. Many employers do background checks on prospective and current employees. This certainly would be a bad time for them to judge your reliability and trustworthiness.
It is important that you keep an eye on the status of your driver’s license and correct any issues that you may find. Driving with a suspended Florida license can become a major problem. The ramifications of it being suspended are just too great to assume that it is fine, including it becoming a criminal issue. If you have received even a couple of traffic tickets, you may have accumulated more points than you realize. Don’t allow a minor issue become one that is so significant that it prevents you from enjoying all of the wonderful sights and sounds that South Florida offers. If you discover a problem with your driver’s license, give us a call at 967-954-9888 for a free consultation. Sometimes it only takes a simple phone call for us to be able to help restore your independence by getting you back on the road.