One of the last things anyone wants to see behind them while they are driving are flashing blue and red lights. However, there is another thing that you definitely do not want to hear as the law enforcement officer approaches your vehicle: "You are driving with a suspended license."
Most people will not drive when their licenses are suspended, but sometimes, people aren't aware their driver's license had been suspended. They then ask how can be in trouble for driving while their license was suspended if they didn't know their license was suspended? Well, the answer is that you have a duty to know when your license is suspended. Here's what you need to know if you've found yourself in this predicament.
There's a presumption that you receive mail from the DMV
Whenever there's a reason for the Department of Motor Vehicles to suspend someone's license, they send mail stating such and any requirements the person may have to fulfill. The mail gets sent to the person's address listed on their driver's license. If the driver's license address is correct and you did not receive any mail from the DMV regarding a license suspension, speak with a criminal lawyer.
Sometimes, addresses on driver's licenses are outdated because the person moved from one residence to another. This cannot be used as a defense due to the fact that you are required to keep your driver's license updated with every change of address. State laws vary regarding the time frame that is permitted to report this change to the DMV. Therefore, there may be a chance that a criminal lawyer can help you get your driver's license privileges reinstated if you can prove that your address recently changed yet it was within the allotted time frame and the letter got lost in the mail.
Take care of the underlying reason for the driver's license suspension first
In order to attempt to get your driver's license reinstated, you should take care of the underlying reason for it to have been suspended, such as failure to pay a previous fine or failure to turn in registration plates after not renewing or paying your insurance premium. Doing this first will enable you to show the court that you have taken the appropriate measures to correct previous mistakes, which may possibly help your defense case.
If you don't know why your license was suspended, obtain your driving record from your state's DMV. You can find this located on your state's DMV website. In order to do this, you will need your driver's license number. Of course, when you were pulled over for driving with a suspended license, the law enforcement officer was required to take your physical driver's license from your possession. Fortunately, you'll be able to find this information on the citation you were given by the officer. This will allow you to see exactly what the problem was so you can remedy it.
Do not enter a guilty plea, especially without consulting with a lawyer
Do not enter a guilty plea because doing so could cause your license suspension to be much longer than it currently is, such as a full year and three months instead of just three months for driving without insurance in the state of Pennsylvania without rectifying the initial three months suspension by turning in the registration plate. This is the type of case that you will want to hire a criminal lawyer and head to court, particularly if you live in an area where there is little to no public transportation and you rely heavily on your ability to drive. Speak with a criminal lawyer at a firm such as Johnson Motinger Greenwood Law Firm as soon as possible.