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What are the differences in DWLS charges in Florida?

One of the most common traffic charges in Sarasota, and throughout Florida, is driving while license suspended, cancelled, or revoked, commonly referred to as a DWLS charge. While DWLS is considered a traffic charge, the degree and severity can differ greatly depending on the circumstances.

The lowest level DWLS is a non-criminal traffic infraction. These occur when a cop determines a person's driver's license is suspended without their knowledge. This is a civil infraction and usually comes with a fine and points on one's license; it does not carry any criminal sanctions. The next level up is DWLS with knowledge of the suspension. This is a second degree misdemeanor and may carry criminal sanctions such as probation, community service, or 60 days county jail. If a person has one prior conviction for DWLS with knowledge, the State may charge DWLS after prior conviction, which is a first degree misdemeanor and can carry up to a year in the county jail.

After three convictions for DWLS, the charge becomes much more serious. If a person has had three convictions within five years, he will be labeled as an habitual traffic offender (HTO). Being labeled as an HTO may make a DWLS charge a third degree felony. A third degree felony could expose an individual to up to five years in prison.

Though DWLS starts off as a simple traffic ticket, as one can see the trouble can get compounded very quickly. The attorneys of Soler and Slack, P.A. are highly experienced in handling all type of DWLS charges. If you have recently been charged with a DWLS of any kind, please call us immediately at (941)444-5128 to discuss your options.

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