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Driving on a suspended license: is it worth the risk?

There are many reasons you could end up with a suspended driver’s license in Florida—from simple traffic violations to crimes. Even offenses unrelated to driving can get your license revoked.

Maybe you failed to stop for a school bus—and an officer wrote you up and suspended your license. You may be upset. It may seem like an outrageous penalty for a seemingly minor infraction. And it creates a huge inconvenience on your life.

Suddenly you can’t drive yourself to work—or your kids to school. Going grocery shopping and doing other basic errands becomes an ordeal. You may be tempted to play the odds and drive while your license is suspended. What are you risking?

Criminal record

For one thing, if you’re caught and charged, you’ll now have this offense on your permanent criminal record. This alone is a huge price to pay—especially if the original offense that got your license suspended in the first place wasn’t a crime. Having a criminal record affects you for life—making it challenging to get a job, rent an apartment or take out a loan.

Penalties

In Florida, driving on a suspended license is a second-degree misdemeanor for a first-time offense, for which you can be charged as much as $500 in fines and face up to 60 days in jail. The penalties jump steeply for repeat offenders. If you’re caught a second time, you could have to pay up to $1,000 and serve as much as a year in jail. Offending a third time is a felony, for which you could face $5,000 in fines and five years in prison.

In addition to the above penalties, any such infraction may result in prolonged license suspension or revocation.

Having your license suspended can create a major disruption in your life. But in the long run, driving during your suspension could cause much more serious problems for you down the road.

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Sarasota, FL 34236

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