While a lack of understanding of the law is often not a sufficient defense, the State must still show that the defendant intended to commit a crime in many criminal cases. As a result, if the State cannot prove intent beyond a reasonable doubt, a reversal of a conviction or non-guilty verdict may be appropriate. This was proved in a recent Florida case in which the defendant’s conviction for driving while his license was suspended was overturned because the State failed to prove he did so deliberately. If you have been charged with driving while your license is suspended or any other crime, you should consult with a skilled Florida criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to discuss your options.
The Case’s Details
According to reports, a police officer stopped the defendant and charged him with driving while his license was suspended and carrying marijuana in excess of 20 grams. The defendant petitioned for acquittal before the trial, but it was denied. He was found guilty of the charges after the trial. He argued that the State failed to fulfill its burden of proof in his conviction for driving on a suspended license. Following a review, the appellate court concurred, and his conviction was overturned.
Proving a Driving with a Suspended License Offense
It is illegal to drive with a suspended license, according to Florida law. To convict someone of this crime, the State must prove each element as defined by the applicable statute. In other words, it must prove that the defendant’s driver’s license was suspended at the time of the alleged offence, and that the defendant was aware that his or her license was suspended but drove nonetheless.
If the individual admits to knowing that their license was suspended, if they were previously been cited for driving while their license was suspended, or if they received notification of the suspension, the law specifies that knowledge is proven. The assumption that he or she is aware of the license suspension is rebuttable in circumstances where a judgment or order has been made against the person.
The State’s only proof of knowledge in the matter at hand was the video of the defendant’s arrest and the arresting officers’ testimony about their personal knowledge of the license suspension. The prosecution failed to provide the defendant’s driving record or any evidence that the defendant was aware that his license had been suspended. The appellate court ruled that the trial court erred in refusing the defendant’s request for acquittal and reversed his conviction because the State failed to submit competent evidence to prove the element of knowledge.
Meet with a Dedicated Florida Criminal Defense Attorney
Driving while a license is suspended can result in serious consequences, therefore anyone accused with this offense should consult an attorney to learn about possible defenses. The dedicated St. Petersburg criminal defense attorneys of Hanlon Law are adept at defending people charged with traffic offenses, and if you hire us, we can help you pursue the best result possible under the facts of your case. You can contact us at 727-897-5413 or through the form online to set up a meeting.