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What Happens If You Drive with a Suspended License in Northwest Indiana?

What Happens If You Drive with a Suspended License in Northwest Indiana?

Driving with a suspended license is a serious offense in northwest Indiana. Consequences could include further license suspensions, fees, and points, which could severely compromise your ability to get to and from work and accomplish basic tasks necessary to your life.

However, getting charged with driving on a suspended license is not the end of the world. With the aid of an experienced Indiana DWLS defense attorney, you can minimize the impact this charge has on your license and your future ability to drive in the state.

Driving While License Suspended — What Does That Mean in Indiana?

Driving with a suspended license, IC 9-24-19, occurs when an individual operates a motor vehicle on a roadway while their license is suspended either by a court or administratively through the Indiana BMV. A person who is charged with this offense must also know or should be aware that their license has been suspended. Depending on the circumstances, it can be charged as an infraction, misdemeanor, or felony.

Difference Between Revoked and Suspended License

In some states, a revoked license is a license that has been altogether canceled, meaning a person must apply for a new one. However, a suspension refers to a license that still exists but with suspended driving privileges. Once the suspension is lifted, the driver need not apply for a new license.

drive with a suspended license

What Are the Reasons for Suspension or Revocation in NWI?

There are numerous reasons why the state may choose to suspend your driver's license, including:

  • Operating a vehicle without insurance
  • Operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Intentional failure to pay child support obligations
  • Committing reckless vehicular homicide
  • Accumulating traffic violations

A driver may receive a driver's license suspension if they receive too many points, which are assigned when a traffic violation occurs. Receiving 20 or more points in a 24-month period will lead to a driver's license suspension. But traffic tickets can be cleaned up to prevent drivers from reaching this threshold.

What Is Indiana Code 9-24-19?

Driving with a license suspension is a risky move that can lead to serious consequences. However, many continue to drive with suspended licenses due to how important driving is in their lives. Sadly, when caught, the penalties for driving with a suspended license end up further inconveniencing and compromising their lives.

According to IC 9-24-19-1, driving with a suspended license occurs when someone knows that their license has been suspended or that their driving privileges have been taken from them yet continues to drive on a public road or highway.

In its basic form, IC 9-24-19-1 is a Class A infraction. However, aggravating circumstances may exist that lead the state to charge the offense as a misdemeanor or a felony.

No matter the situation, it is never worth it to drive on a suspended license, and it's always worth the effort and expense to have your suspension resolved before getting behind the wheel.

What Are the Consequences of Driving with a Suspended or Revoked License?

The nature of the consequences you face after being caught driving with a suspended license depends on whether the charge is an infraction, misdemeanor, or felony.

what happens if you drive with a suspended license

— Infraction and Misdemeanor Violations

If your first charge of driving while suspended is an infraction, you could be fined up to $10,000.

However, many drivers have been caught driving with a suspended license more than once. If they have a past violation on their driving record that occurred within ten years of their current one, they may be charged with a Class A misdemeanor. Additionally, a driver may also be charged with a Class A misdemeanor if their suspended license came about due to the commission of a crime.

If charged with a Class A misdemeanor, a driver could face up to $5,000 in fines and one year in jail.

— Felony Charges

Driving with a suspended license in Indiana can also lead to felony charges in certain circumstances.

Generally speaking, the specific circumstances required for your driving while suspended charge to be upgraded to a felony are as follows:

  • If you harm someone while driving with a suspended license, you will be charged with a Level 6 felony and be sent to prison for from six months to one-and-a-half years.
  • If you cause someone to suffer a catastrophic injury or cause a fatality while driving on a suspended license in Indiana, you will face a Level 5 felony and be looking at anywhere between one and six years of prison.

Although both levels of felonies have a range for sentencing, the states' advisory recommendations for these charges are one year for the Level 6 felony and three years for the Level 5 felony.

— Further License Suspensions

If you are caught driving with a suspended license, you will face more than just criminal penalties. On top of jail or prison time and fines, driving while your license is suspended can also lead to an extension of your suspension time. The time added to your suspension could be between 90 days and two years, depending on the circumstances.

If you are facing a driving while suspended charge, your first step should be to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. They can help you reduce or avoid criminal consequences.

penalty for driving with a suspended license

Is Notice Required to Be Convicted of DWLS in Indiana?

If the state wants to convict you of driving while suspended charge, prosecutors must prove you had the knowledge and notice that you had a suspended driver's license. One way that notice can be effectively delivered to you is by being pulled over and receiving a ticket from an officer of the law because your license has been suspended.

After receiving this infraction, you can no longer claim a lack of notice. If you are subsequently caught driving with a suspended license, you will then be charged with at least a Class A misdemeanor and potentially a Level 5 or Level 6 felony, depending on the circumstances of the charge.

What Are Specialized Driving Privileges in NWI?

The state of Indiana officials understand how important driving is in people's lives. Hence, the state has specialized driving privileges for those with a suspended driver's license in certain circumstances. These situations include:

  • Employment
  • Childcare
  • School
  • Healthcare appointments
  • Court dates
  • Religious services and events

However, these driving privileges are not guaranteed. The judge hearing a particular case has the discretion to award or deny them on a case-by-case basis. With the help of a northwest Indiana specialized driving privileges attorney, drivers can increase their chances of being granted a hardship license.

Seek Expert Legal Assistance from Professional Indiana DWLS Defense Lawyers

Driving with a suspended license can lead to serious criminal penalties and wreak havoc on your life. However, with a skilled attorney defending you, you have a good chance of sidestepping the harshest consequences and even beating the charges.

At Stracci Law Group, we have successfully defended numerous clients against suspended or revoked license charges at all levels, from Class A citations to Level 5 felonies. We fight hard to lessen the consequences our clients face so they can resolve their suspended license issues and get back to normal life.

If you are facing a driving while suspended charge, contact us today for a consultation.

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