A person’s driver’s license might be suspended for various reasons, including traffic offenses and unpaid tickets. If you are stopped by the police while driving on a suspended license, you might be in some serious trouble.
While driving on a suspended license can get you into some trouble, it is unlikely that you will go to jail. Driving with a suspended license is a traffic violation and is not ordinarily punished with jail time. However, other possible consequences include tickets, fines, and extra time on your suspension. It is possible to be arrested when pulled over for driving on a suspended license, but the arrest would likely be related to some other criminal matter, not the license suspension. Call an attorney immediately if you are arrested during a traffic stop for any reason, including a suspended license.
Driving on a suspended license is not a good idea, but you are unlikely to face something as serious as criminal charges or jail time. If your routine traffic stop takes a very serious turn, call our Salt Lake City traffic violation attorneys for help. Call Overson Law, PLLC at (801) 758-2287.
Can I be Criminally Charged and Thrown in Jail for Driving with a Suspended License in Utah?
Driving with a suspended license is a traffic violation that can be punished with a citation, fines, and extra time added to your suspension in some cases. While these are certainly serious problems to deal with, you will probably not be thrown in jail. You are unlikely to be arrested, barring special circumstances.
In Utah, most traffic offenses are considered infractions rather than actual crimes. Infractions are ordinarily punished by fines and no incarceration. However, certain traffic violations might be considered Class C misdemeanors. While these are the lowest tier of misdemeanor offenses, they still carry potential jail time of up to 90 days.
According to Utah Code § 53-3-227(2), driving on a suspended license is a Class C misdemeanor, so jail time is possible if you are found guilty. However, just because jail time is possible does not mean it is probable. Unless some other aggravating factors exist (e.g., you are a repeat offender, you were intoxicated, you caused an accident), you have a strong chance of avoiding jail time. Contact our Park City traffic violations attorneys for help if you were pulled over.
Possible Consequences of Driving with a Suspended License in Utah
As mentioned earlier, driving on a suspended license is a Class C misdemeanor punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a fine of no more than $750. This penalty applies to cases where the defendant allegedly drove on a suspended license, but not much else was happening. Under the law, certain aggravating factors might cause your charges to be upgraded, and the possibility of jail time becomes more likely.
According to Utah Code §53-3-227(3), you might be charged with a Class B misdemeanor for driving on a suspended license if your license was suspended for any of the following reasons:
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Refusing to submit to mandatory chemical testing
- Violating local DUI ordinances
- Causing an accident resulting in someone’s death
- Being an alcohol-restricted driver
- Having a suspended commercial driver’s license
- Being convicted of vehicular offenses requiring a mandatory license suspension (e.g., vehicular manslaughter)
- Your license was suspended as part of a plea bargain
Class B misdemeanors are more severely punished, and defendants might face up to 6 months in jail. Our Utah criminal defense lawyers can help you fight these allegations by proving your license was not suspended for any of these reasons or, if it was, that the suspension period had expired and your license was valid at the time of the stop.
Why Would I be Arrested for Driving with a Suspended License in Utah
If you were arrested for driving on a suspended license, it is likely because the police found something in their database when they ran a check on your name. Perhaps they believe your license was suspended for one of the reasons mentioned earlier. It is also possible that another issue arose that made the police think an arrest was necessary.
In many cases, defendants are not arrested for the suspended license but for outstanding warrants. While an outstanding warrant for your arrest sounds bad, they are often not as serious as they seem. Bench warrants are frequently issued for reasons like missed court dates or unpaid fines. If the police find an outstanding warrant for your arrest, they might take you into custody, just not necessarily for the suspended license.
They might also arrest you because they believe you were doing something else that was more serious. If the police suspect you were intoxicated, they might arrest you if they can find enough probable cause. Contact our Utah traffic violations attorneys right away in such a circumstance.
What to Do After Being Stopped with a Suspended License in Utah
If you are pulled over for driving on a suspended driver’s license, you should contact an attorney for help right away. Unless aggravating factors are present, the police officer will likely write you a ticket and let you go. Remember to hold onto the ticket as it contains important information about your traffic stop, potential fine, and how to challenge the ticket.
If you are arrested, there might be more serious underlying issues than a suspended driver’s license. If you are taken into custody for questioning, invoke your right to remain silent and demand to speak to a lawyer. You can call our Park City criminal defense attorneys for help immediately.
Call Our Utah License Suspension Lawyers for Help
Being pulled over while driving on a suspended license does not normally lead to jail time unless very serious factors are present. Regardless, you should contact an attorney about how to handle the ticket and fight the charges against you. For a free case review, call Overson Law, PLLC at (801) 758-2287.