Getting caught driving on a suspended license can turn an already bad legal situation into one that’s much more difficult to navigate. There are a variety of penalties that can accompany this charge. They do, however, vary from state and state and may also hinge on the reason for the initial suspension.
Why Licenses are Suspended
Driving is considered a privilege and not a right in the United States. Inasmuch, drivers are expected to follow certain rules to retain the legal ability to drive. When the rules are broken, a license may be suspended by a judge for a certain period of time or even indefinitely.
Some of the more common offenses that lead to a suspended license include:
- Reckless driving
- Failure to appear
- Excessive traffic tickets
- Failure to have proper insurance coverage
What Happens to a Driver?
Since driving with a suspended license is considered a criminal offense in most states, a driver who is caught behind the wheel may be arrested and taken to jail. While this charge is typically a misdemeanor, drivers can anticipate being booked into the system. They may also have to pay bail or wait for a first appearance before a judge to be released. If the driver happens to be on probation for another offense, the suspension arrest may result in a revocation of parole in some jurisdictions.
A driver who is facing this type of charge may have to make several court appearances to have the issue reach resolution. There are some circumstances where a suspension charge can be successfully fought. This is especially so if the driver was unaware of the suspension or a mistake was made in the processing of paperwork.
Penalties for Driving on a Suspended License
The exact penalties that accompany a conviction for this charge will vary by state. They can include:
- A fine
- Community service
- An increase in the timeframe of the original suspension
- Jail time
- Revocation of a license permanently, which is generally reserved for repeat or extremely serious offenses
Talk to an Attorney for Advice
Driving on a suspended license can carry some pretty stiff penalties. When there is a desire to fight this type of charge, hiring a reputable lawyer is a must. A skilled attorney can help clients explore their options and will stand up in court and fight to prove innocence or lobby for minimal penalties. A lawyer may also be able to secure restricted driving privileges for a client, such as transit to and from place of employment.