Is it a crime to drive with a suspended or revoked license in Florida?
Yes, in Florida it is a criminal offense to drive with a suspended or revoked license. Depending on the reasons for suspension and whether repeat violations are involved, the charge may either be a misdemeanor or a felony.
A person’s driver’s license may be suspended for many reasons, including driving while intoxicated, refusing to take a breathalyzer test, driving without insurance, ignoring traffic ticket payments, and supplying fraudulent information on a driver’s license application.
What are the consequences of driving with an invalid license in Florida?
The penalties for driving with revoked or suspended license in Florida depend on the degree of seriousness of the offense. Details of the offense are laid out in Section 322.34 of the Florida Motor Vehicle Statutes, where it is entitled, “Driving while license suspended, revoked, canceled, or disqualified”.
According to the statutes, multiple or repeat offenses will result in severe consequences:
First and second time offenses are considered to be misdemeanors, punishable by an imprisonment term not to exceed 60 days, and/or fines not to exceed $500
Third time offenses are classified as a felony punishable by a prison term not to exceed 5 years and/or fines of up to $5,000
It should be noted that the prosecutor would need to prove that the person knew that their license was suspended or revoked when they drove. This may be proven by documentation, for example, letters or records from the Department of Motor Vehicles notifying the person of the suspension. Also, driving with a suspended license is a distinct crime from the less serious charge of driving without a license.
What options do I have if I really need to drive in Florida?
If your license has been suspended, you may be eligible for a provisionary license known as a “Conditional License” or a “Hardship License”. This is a license that allows the person to drive under very limited conditions, usually for the purpose of commuting to work or performing basic household duties.
In order to obtain a conditional license, you would need to file a petition with the Florida court requesting for such a license. This may include other requirements such as completing additional driver training courses or mandatory DUI treatment programs.
Alternatively, you may inquire about having your license reinstated. Some judges will modify or cancel a suspension order if it can be proven that the person is rehabilitated and will only be using their vehicle for business or employment purposes.
Check with an attorney to determine whether you are eligible for either of these two options.
Should I obtain a Florida lawyer?
Driving while your license is suspended is a serious crime in the state of Florida that may even lead to jail time and felony charges. If you are involved in such a charge you should contact an attorney who will be able to properly advise and direct you. Sometimes administrative errors may cause people’s names to mistakenly appear on the list of suspended licenses. Be sure to periodically ensure that your license is currently valid and that you have it with you at all times when you drive.