If you have been convicted of certain traffic offenses, you may lose your right to drive for a certain period of time. There are various terms that the law uses for the loss of your ability to drive. The two most common terms are revocation and suspension of your driver’s license. Although these terms are largely the same, there are some key differences of which you should be made aware by your attorney. While you do not have full driving privileges, you will be punished far more seriously when you are caught driving with a revoked license.
You May Still Be Able to Drive Under Certain Circumstances
The common theme between a suspension and a revocation is that you lose the full driving privileges that you had before the punishment was imposed. There are some ways that you can still continue to drive. However, these would be in the form of an occupational license that still has its own limitations. If you violate the terms of your occupational license, you may lose it, along with your ability to drive in any way. You can get an occupational driver’s license when it is necessary to maintain your employment or your household. One key exception is that you cannot get an occupational license when you have a commercial driver’s license.
When the State May Suspend Your Driving Privileges
First, the severity of the traffic offense will determine whether your license is suspended or revoked after a conviction. In most cases, your license will be suspended. Here are some of the circumstances that may result in a suspension of your license:
- Driving 25 miles per hour faster than the speed limit
- Repeated moving violations over a period of time
- A drunk driving conviction
- Refusal to take a Breathalyzer test
- Accumulating 12 or more points on your driver’s license over the course of a year
The court will order your license to be revoked if you have committed any of these traffic offenses and you have caused great bodily harm or death to another.
The main difference between a suspension and a revocation is the penalty that you would face if you violated the terms of the punishment. A revocation is viewed much more seriously, and you will be punished much more seriously if you drive with a revoked license.
What Happens When You Are Caught Driving on a Suspended License
It is not always a crime to drive with a suspended license, although you will face monetary penalties if you are caught. The fines can range from $50 all the way up to $2500. You can face criminal charges if you commit a crime while driving with a suspended license, such as being pulled over for another OWI.
Even though driving with a suspended license is not always a crime, it does not mean that you do not face serious consequences if something goes wrong. For example, if you cause bodily injury or property damage while driving with a suspended license, you could face misdemeanor or felony charges. If you knew that you were driving with a suspended license, the penalties can be far greater. Depending on what happened in the accident, you can be charged with a felony that could result in a jail sentence of up to six years. However, if you are pulled over for a moving violation with a suspended license, it does not always result in criminal charges.
Driving on a Revoked License Will Be Charged as a Criminal Offense
In general, driving with a revoked license is a misdemeanor in Wisconsin. You will get far more than just a ticket if you are convicted. Here are the penalties that you may face for driving with a revoked license:
- A fine of up to $2500
- A jail sentence of up to one year
- Court costs
- An additional six months on the period of driver’s license revocation
- Any penalties and consequences that come from having a criminal record (Wisconsin has strict rules that make it more difficult to expunge a conviction, so you can expect possible repercussions)
Even if you are not charged with driving on a revoked license at the time when the officer stops you, the charges will escalate by the time you make your required court appearance.
You Should Always Hire an Attorney When You Have Been Accused of Driving on a Suspended or Revoked License
The prospect of having your license suspended or revoked should be enough to convince you that you need an attorney if you are facing a serious traffic charge. Your right to drive is your freedom, and if you lose it, you will not be able to carry on with your life as you did before. A driver’s license suspension or revocation is one factor that you should consider when you are deciding whether to plead guilty to OWI charges or go to court to fight. Your attorney will advise you about the best course of action for you, depending on any possible defenses you may have and the consequences of a conviction.
If you have been charged with driving with a suspended or revoked license, you need the help of an attorney. There are a wide variety of potential outcomes in your case. Even though there may not be as many legal defenses, your attorney could potentially work with the prosecutor for a reduced sentence or lesser charges.
Contact an Appleton Criminal Defense Attorney Today
If you have been charged with any criminal offense or you have received a citation that can have a significant financial impact, you should consider hiring an experienced lawyer to handle your case. The attorneys at Hogan Eickhoff provide you with tough yet sensible legal representation that can make a difference in your case. From your standpoint, the best thing to do is contact us immediately if you are facing charges. You can contact us at (920) 450-9800 to schedule your initial consultation.