In Florida, as in all U.S. states, driving is a privilege and not a right. Florida State Statutes in Section 322.03 state that a person may not operate any motor vehicle on state roadways unless they have a valid, unexpired license.
Depending on the reasons why you do not have a valid license, punishment for violations may include:
- Fines as low as $63 (for an expired license) or as high as $5000 for driving with a license that has been permanently revoked
- Possible time in jail, especially if it is a repeat offense. Sentencing may range anywhere from 60 days to 5 years depending on the severity of the case
Florida vehicle laws are particularly strict when it comes to repeat violations involving a permanently revoked license. First and second time offenses are considered to be misdemeanors, while a third time offense will result in actual felony charges.
Yes, Section 322.04 of the Florida statutes provide that the following persons are exempt from the general driver’s license requirement:
- Employees of the U.S. Government who are operating a non-commercial government-owned vehicle for use in official business
- Drivers of any road vehicle, farm tractor, or other husbandry (farming) vehicle temporarily moving on a highway
- Non-residents in possession of a valid non-commercial license issued from their home country or state
- Drivers of golf courts operating pursuant to Florida vehicle provisions
- Out-of-state workers employed in a government contract passing through the state on temporary duty, provided they have a valid license in another U.S. state
Driving without a license is a serious offense in Florida. Contacting a lawyer in Florida may be necessary in order to ensure that you are informed of all your rights under state laws. This is especially the case if you are involved in multiple offenses and may be facing a felony charge. If you have never been charged with a vehicle violation, make sure to double check that your current license is not expired and that you carry it with you whenever you drive.