My question involves a driver's license issued by the State of: Florida
I was pulled over the other day because of expired tags on the vehicle I was driving (I was not speeding/etc, that was the only reason I got pulled over). With regards to that, there was simply miscommunication between myself and my wife: I thought it had been done, and it had not. It was not under my name, and due to financing it was under my father-in-law's name. It has since been taken care of.
However, during this process, the police officer noticed that my drivers license was slightly over 6 months expired. I literally had no idea that this was the case, as I had not really looked at it in quite some time, and thought that I had at least another year left on it. I did not personally see or receive a letter in the mail from Florida notifying me of an upcoming drivers license expiration...otherwise that would have been taken care of. I was no arrested, however I was given a criminal traffic violation ticket and a court date next Tuesday. I've noticed that it is possible that I get up to 60 days in jail and/or up to a $1000 fine.
Also, the first thing that I did when I got home was to renew my license, literally with 30 minutes of being pulled over. The tag issue was also taken care of at around the same time by my father-in-law. So I am now driving with a valid license using a car with up to date tags.
I have absolutely no record in the state of Florida, no criminal record in any state or country, and the only issue I've ever had was a minor speeding ticket when I was in high school in another state, over 15 years ago. I have hyper-anxiety issues, and this has been literally driving me insane with worry, however I cannot afford to hire an attorney. Both myself and my wife are teachers with two small children, and between a rough medical stretch and daycare costs, we barely make it by month to month.
In court, what are the typical procedures for a case like this? Should I simply plead "No contest"? In a case like this do I need to ask for a public defender? I tried one other site, however the only advice I was given was to hire a lawyer...again, even though I make what appears to be a decent salary, because of costs and debt there is no possible way for me to hire one, and my two concerns are that I cannot afford to spend jail time (my wife is both pregnant and has been in a heavy state of depression lately to the point where I worry about the well being of my two small children should anything happen), and I do not want this to negatively affect any future potential jobs....I am not planning on ever working a job that requires any form of license.
Thank you for any help/advice that you can give, and I apologize if this is in the wrong forum.