I recently went to court for DWLS in the 3rd degree. The DA reduced it down to a non-criminal offense since we couldn't really figure out why my license was suspended in the first place. However, I got ANOTHER ticket in the mail a few days ago and when I called to see if the ticket was a mistake, the clerk said I had been charged a second time, only weeks after my first ticket. I was only pulled over once. Obviously I need to show up to court, but I don't know what else to do. I don't believe I can qualify for a public defender, but I think I should seek legal help. Any advice?
Everytime the prosecutors think you are driving while youare suspended your were facing a potential change of DWLS. My first advice is always to work on getting your license reinstated as soon as possible. Each time you are convicted of DWLS 3 you are facing up to three months in jail and a $1000 fine, in addition to having another crime on your criminal record.
You need to consult with, and retain, an attorney extremely familiar with licensing issues and criminal defense to avoid a criminal conviction.
If I were you I would hire an attorney or attempt to get qualified for a public defender. Sometimes a judge can appoint a public defender to you at what are called "street rates," you would still have to pay but it might be cheaper than hiring a private attorney,
That being said, NO, you can't be charged twice for the same conduct. However you need to be sure that this is what they are alleging. It might be a weak case but I have seen officers file DWLS charges on people without pulling them over. I had an officer once say he recognized the vehicle and driver from an previous incident and then just sent a ticket in the mail without pulling the car over and confirming the identity of the driver. It was weak and I got it dismissed but it is possible that this is happening to you.
So, you need to appear in court and you need to get a copy of the police report to see what is being alleged. If it is actually a mistake and you are bing charged twice for the same conduct you should be able to bring this to the prosecutor's attention and get it thrown out. That being said, prosecutors don't really like dealing with members of the public. If you want this handled professionally and respectfully I would again suggest an attorney.
If you drove twice with a license that was suspended or revoked, you can be charged twice. Visit your local DOL office in person and find out exactly why your license is suspended - obtain a valid license. You will be in a much better position going to court with a valid license. Good Luck !
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