Driving While Suspended

My son got pulled over the other day for speeding. After he was pulled over, the officer said his license was suspended. I was horrified when I learned that he had been arrested and I had to bond him out of jail. Apparently, his license had been suspended for failing to pay a speeding ticket that he received during a road trip in Texas with friends. He insists that he paid the ticket and says that he even has a money order receipt somewhere to prove it. However, that was a while ago. He also doesn’t understand why he never received anything in the mail indicating that his license was suspended. He has now been charged with a driving while suspended and a speeding. I am not worried about the speeding but I hear that a driving while suspended charge can be serious. What are the consequences and is there anything he can do?

This sounds like a particularly unfortunate event. However, circumstances similar to your son’s situation happen a surprising amount of the time.

Regarding the reason you did not receive a notice of suspension in the mail, it is possible that your son did not officially change his address with the Department of Revenue as required by law. If so, he would not have received the notice in the mail. This is not uncommon.

A driving while suspended (DWS) is designated as a serious traffic offense pursuant to the statute. A conviction for a DWS results in a number of consequences. Among other considerations, a conviction can result in hefty fines and fees and can even carry jail time, especially depending on if there is a prior conviction for DWS.

From an administrative standpoint, there is an additional 90-day license suspension and a reinstatement fee to get the license back. A DWS can also serve as a charge that will contribute to a habitual violator conviction, which can result in a hefty three-year license suspension.

Technically, if your son’s license was indeed suspended, it may be difficult for him to argue with the driving while suspended charge if he pursued this matter.

However, prosecutors are usually reasonable under circumstances such as these. Perhaps if you are able to locate the money order receipt the prosecutor will consider dismissing it. Alternatively, perhaps the prosecutor will amend the DWS to a lesser charge.

It is impossible to effectively evaluate all of your son’s options, however, without looking at all the circumstances. An attorney may be able to aid you with this situation.