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I am going to court next week for driving on suspended license with knowledge. How should I plea and is jail an option. scared.

Hudson, FL |

My license was suspended because of no insurance. I got a ticket, didn't know was suspended. I paid the ticket and got new insurance and paid DL office. Got pulled over again, actually sitting, getting gas at a pump, randome he said. My credit card ran out of money before insurance got paid; they cancelled me. Got the ticket. Two weeks later, emergency-had to get my son from school, got pulled over. Gave me a ticket for knowledge. Before this year, I was never pulled over. Should I plead no contest and let judge decide. I'm really scared. Won't drive now at all. I have no money to pay tickets, get $600 license, and get tag. I lost my job last year. Unemployment $800 a month. What is going to happen.? Thank you for your help.

Attorney Answers 3


You should be plead not guilty. If jail IS an option, then a public defender should be appointed.

You may have some sort of necessity defense as to why you drove during the last instance, and I am quite sure the court really would like to see you get a valid driver's license. If it is at all possible to get a valid DL before court you need to do that - then the state will likely amend the charge to 'no valid license' and you could plead and go about your business.

If you were to plead guilty or no contest to the current charge, it would cause the DMV to suspend your license all over again, so that is not something you want to do.

If appointed a public defender, work with them to get additional court dates to buy time to obtain a valid DL and to argue to the state that this is a series of unfortunate events certain to not repeat if only you are able to get a valid DL now.

If no PD is appointed it generally means there is no chance that jail will result, or the court has found you are able to afford your own lawyer. Regardless, plead not guilty, set another pre-trial, and get to work obtaining a valid DL. You can sometimes put off final disposition for up to 90 days if you are making progress towards paying off the tickets, sometimes longer depending on the judge.

Good luck.

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If you have absolutely no money to hire a private attorney, enter a plea of not guilty at your arraignment and request a PD. If you have some money and want a private attorney which I do recommend, call around as some offer payment plans.

Do not enter a plea of either Guilty or No Contest. If you do, you may subject yourself to either jail or a 5 year Habitual Traffic Offender -HTO- status. Three DWLSR charges within 5 years of each other results in a HTO. I do not believe you will be successful in a necessity defense.

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Try to find an attorney through your county's bar association, the Florida Bar association or throught the Public Defender. Really work on getting your license before a trial date. You want to avoid pleading no contest. That is an absolute last resort.

See if their is a program for harship license at clerk's office. In Miami we have a drive legal program for people who cannot afford all the Suspended license fees and courts costs so they a pay a much smaller fine and do community service and get a hardship license.

A judge and prosecutor would not allow you a defense of necesiity at trial, but a jury MIGHT MAYBE. It's risky. But if you get a hardcore prosecutor who won't negotiate with your attorney or you even if you get a hardship license and no matter how hard you try, then you have nothing to loose by going to trial if Prosecutor or judge is trying to "throw the book at you"

Click on website it does not cost anything. Thank you.

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