In my more than twenty-five years as a practicing criminal/traffic defense attorney, one of the more frequent offenses I see is driving with a revoked or suspended license. The reasons for the revocation/suspension are varied. There are of course people who have lost their license because of a drunk driving conviction or some other serious traffic offense, or for a controlled substance (drug) conviction. Others are suspended/revoked because of an accumulation of twelve or more points in a twelve month period. Many are even suspended for not paying traffic tickets.

Driving after suspension is a non-criminal offense and carries a penalty of a fine only. Driving after revocation is a criminal offense with penalties ranging from a fine of up to $2,500, mandatory imprisonment in the county jail of up to one year, or both. If the driving results in an accident where someone is seriously injured or killed, driving after revocation itself can be a felony in addition to any other charges.

Sadly, many of these cases are avoidable. Often, the situation is like a snowball rolling downhill. A person gets a speeding ticket, does not pay the fine, gets a license suspension, gets caught driving again, and again, and again, and ends up in jail because of what started as a simple speeding ticket.

Reinstating one’s license can involve paying overdue fines, obtaining insurance, satisfying court other obligations, or simply by paying the $50 reinstatement fee. It is also possible to reopen prior traffic offenses and remove the HTO status.

If reinstatement is not possible, an occupational license allows an individual to drive up to twelve hours per day and sixty hours per week for employment, educational and religious purposes.

If you are ever faced with a charge of driving after revocation or suspension, especially if potential jail time is involved, you should consider consulting an attorney experienced in criminal and traffic laws. Sometimes these criminal traffic matters can be resolved as a civil, non-moving violation. If you get into an accident without a license and need an auto wreck attorney, contact Rizzo & Diersen today.