It used to be the case that anyone convicted of driving with a suspended license in Florida three or more times was guilty of a third-degree felony carrying with it a maximum penalty of five years in prison. But in July 2008 the law changed to the extent that certain individuals convicted of driving with a suspended license three or more times are now guilty of only a first-degree misdemeanor which carries with it a maximum penalty of just one year in the county jail.
I say “certain individuals” because a person who has previously been convicted of a forcible felony would still be guilty of a third-degree felony if he is convicted of driving with a suspended license three or more times. However, if a person’s license is suspended for any of the following reasons, the most serious punishment that he can receive is one year in the county jail:
- He failed to pay court-ordered child support;
- He failed to pay any other financial obligation that he was legally obligated to pay;
- He failed to comply with a civil penalty;
- He failed to maintain financial responsibility for his vehicle;
- He failed to comply with attendance or other requirements for minors; or
- He has been designated a habitual traffic offender because his license was suspended for any of the reasons stated above in numbers 1 through 5.
It seems ridiculous to me that anyone should be sent to state prison for simply driving with a suspended license regardless of how many times that person has been convicted of that particular crime. I therefore think that the change in law discussed in this article is a long-overdue step in the right direction.