If your license is suspended for any reason, you should not be driving. However, losing your license can impose a heavy burden on your life and the lives of the people around you. So what happens if you decide to drive on your suspended license? You are very likely going to be charged with a criminal offense and may obtain a longer license suspension.
Consequences of driving with a suspending license
Under Indiana Code 9-24-19-2, “an individual who: (1) knows that [his] driving privileges, driver’s license, or permit is suspended or revoked; and (2) operates a motor vehicle upon a highway less than (10) years after the date on which judgment was entered against the individual for a prior unrelated violation of section 1 of this chapter; commits a Class A misdemeanor.” IC § 9-24-19-2 (Burns, Lexis Advance through P.L.210-2018, with gaps of P.L.177-2018, P.L.189-2018, and P.L.208-2018, from the Second Regular Session of the 120th General Assembly).
Generally, “a person who commits a Class A misdemeanor shall be imprisoned for a fixed term of not more than one (1) year; in addition, he may be fined not more than five thousand dollars ($5,000).” IC § 35-50-3-2 (Burns, Lexis Advance through P.L.169-2018, with gaps of P.L.152-2018 to 154-2018 and 161-2018, from the Second Regular Session of the 120th General Assembly).
Furthermore, if you drive with a suspended license, you risk further license suspension. You may be viewed as a habitual traffic offender, which could lead to a longer term of license suspension in addition to likely receiving points on your license.
What is notice?
According to Coats v. State, in order to be convicted of driving with a suspended license, the driver needs to have known or have had a reasonable opportunity to know that his license was suspended. Coats v. State, 697 N.E.2d 1261 (Ind. Ct. App. 1998). This means adequate notice needs to be provided to the defendant that he has a suspended license and cannot drive. Notice can come in the form of the Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) mailing notice of suspension to the defendant. It is the State’s burden to prove adequate notice was provided.
If you are unsure of your license status, you may request your driving record through the Indiana BMV.
If you are charged with driving with a suspended license, you will need a criminal defense lawyer. At Hayes Law Office, we are experienced with driver’s license issues and are here to help. Call us at 317-759-1515.