In Florida, most people are aware that if your driver’s license becomes suspended for any reason, it is a crime to drive a vehicle. It is usually a misdemeanor crime that is not treated too harshly in court. However, multiple driving with a suspended license arrests and convictions can prolong the length of the suspension which can lead to more driving with a suspended license arrests and more suspensions, and so on. Also, if you get a few driving with a suspended license convictions, you can be charged with a felony for the next one, and people often get jail time or even prison time for these charges in felony court.
In a driving with a suspended license case just south of Jacksonville, Florida, a defendant was arrested while riding a gas powered bicycle after his driver’s license had been suspended. The criminal defense lawyer filed a motion to dismiss the charge. One can only be convicted of driving with a suspended license if he/she is operating a “motor vehicle”. The criminal defense attorney properly established that, under Florida law, a “motor vehicle” excludes vehicles moved solely by human power and also motorized bicycles and wheelchairs.
The prosecutor disagreed arguing that this gas powered bicycle is different from a motorized bicycle under Florida law. A separate Florida statute defines a “motorized bicycle” as one that has an “electric helper motor” that cannot travel more than 20 miles per hour. The police officer said the defendant was traveling in excess of 30 miles per hour.
The court sided with the state and allowed the state to prosecute the defendant for riding a gas powered motorcycle while having a suspended license. Obviously, the law was intended to deal with people driving regular motor vehicles. However, due to expansions of the law, the state can charge a person with driving with a suspended driver’s license for driving other kinds of motorized vehicles.