In an attempt to nab people driving on a suspended license, St. John’s County Sheriff’s Department rolled out an interesting program over the holidays. A member of the traffic division sat outside the homes of drivers with suspended licenses and waited for them to get behind the wheel.
According to Sgt. Mulligan, the people targeted were “known” to have been continuing to drive despite their driver’s license suspension or revocation. Twenty-two arrests were made in conjunction with the “Blue Christmas” program that took place over the last few weeks of December. Deputies and members of the traffic division were given photos of the known offenders so they would recognized them and make a proper arrest once spotted getting behind the wheel.
Many people charged in the “Blue Christmas” operation in the St. Augustine, FL area had their license suspended due to DUI charges. In Florida your license can be suspended for up to one year for your first offense. The penalty climbs with each successive DUI conviction until your license is permanently revoked after your 4th conviction within 10 years.
Driving while your license is suspended can carry 60 days in jail and a $500 fine for your first offense. If you have been previously convicted of driving while your license is under suspension you face up to 1 year in jail and $1,000 in fines for a second conviction, and up to 5 years in prison and $5,000 in fines for a 3rd conviction.
All in all, those arrested are facing serious potential penalties. While I am not sure that having officers camped outside residences for two weeks was a worthwhile taxpayer expenses, I do know that the courts will be busier now and that those people arrested are rethinking their hasty decision to drive.
People don’t realize what an inconvenience a suspended license is until they are in that boat. Having to depend on others to get everywhere can be very stressful. More than likely these arrestees got tired of depending on others and took a chance. Unfortunately for them, the Sheriff’s Department was lying in wait for them to slip up.
If you are facing similar charges, you need experience and determination on your side when you go before the judge. Particularly if this isn’t your first offense you want to be sure you get the best defense attorney you can.