DWLS – Driving While License is Suspended

There are many different factors that go into Driving While License Suspended (DWLS) cases such as: Were you driving while knowing that your license was suspended? Is this your first offense? Did you cause serious bodily harm to someone? Etc. For some of these factors, it could be the difference between a criminal or civil matter and these are a few of the reasons why each case is unique. Also, each time you are adjudicated guilty of a DWLS it will count as one of your three strikes to become a Habitual Traffic Offender (HTO). A person classified as an HTO will have a 5 year driver’s license revocation, so be careful.

DWLS without Knowledge

If you are charged with driving while your license is suspended, revoked, canceled, or disqualified WITHOUT your knowledge it is a civil instead of a criminal matter. It is also important to remember that paying your DWLS ticket admits guilt.


  • Court is NOT mandatory
  • $164 fine in Orange County
  • Driving School
  • Court costs
  • Points on your license
  • Strike towards becoming an HTO

DWLS with Knowledge

Being charged with DWLS while you did have knowledge of your suspension is a criminal matter and you will be charged with a second-degree misdemeanor for a first offense. This is a more serious matter than a DWLS without knowledge and brings bigger penalties.


  • Court will be mandatory
  • It will be on your criminal record
  • Up to a $500 fine
  • Classes and court costs
  • Up to 60 days in jail or probation
  • Strike towards becoming an HTO

DWLS 2nd Degree with Knowledge

If you are found to be DWLS with knowledge a second time, you will be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor.


  • Court will be mandatory
  • It will be on your criminal record
  • Up to a $1000 fine
  • Up to 1 year in jail
  • Strike towards becoming an HTO

DWLS 3rd Degree with Knowledge

If you are charged with DWLS with knowledge and you have two prior convictions for the same thing, you will be charged with a misdemeanor of the first degree with a minimum of 10 days in jail. If this was your third offense in 5 years, you may also become a Habitual Traffic Offender which brings an automatic 5-year revocation of your driver’s license.


  • Court will be mandatory
  • Minimum 10 days jail
  • It will be on your criminal record
  • Up to a $1000 fine
  • Up to 1 year in jail
  • Strike towards becoming an HTO

    DWLS Causing Serious Bodily Injury or Death

    If you were DWLS with knowledge and caused a fatality or serious bodily harm to another person you will be charged with a third-degree felony.

    • Court will be mandatory
    • It will be on your criminal record
    • Up to a $5000 fine
    • Up to 5 years in jail or probation
    • Strike towards becoming an HTO

    The state will most likely take this much more seriously than other DWLS offenses and it’s very important to contact an attorney immediately.

    I would highly recommend Gans Law to any friends or family. As this was my first experience with a law firm, Brandon Gans was very helpful and informative on the steps I needed to take. He was professional, knowledgeable, and quick to respond to any questions or concerns, making the process much easier. I am pleased to say my case was successfully dismissed.

    - Monica

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    Firm Overview

    Gans Law offers a variety of services that range from criminal defense to suspended licenses. Here at Gans Law, we understand that sometimes good people find themselves dealing with complex legal matters.

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