Driving without a valid license in Florida is more than a mere traffic violation, it is a second degree misdemeanor that can land you in jail for up to 60 days and cost you as much as $500 in fines. According to Florida Statute 322.03, “A person may not drive any motor vehicle upon a highway in this state unless such person has a valid driver license.”
This is not the same as if you possess a valid driver’s license, but didn’t have it with you when you were pulled over. That is addressed in Florida Statute 322.15, which states that “Every licensee shall have his or her driver license… in his or her immediate possession at all times when operating a motor vehicle and shall present or submit the same upon the demand of a law enforcement officer.” You can generally get out of that by showing the court clerk your license within 30 days of the citation, and you’ll pay a small fine.
But driving without having been issued a valid license can mean having to answer “guilty” or “not guilty” to criminal charges in a court of law. How you deal with the situation can have a big impact on your life. Call (407) 349-4211 for a free consultation with the Orlando criminal defense attorneys at the Rivas Law Firm.
Driving Without a Driver’s License in Florida
A valid driver’s license is a state-issued license to operate a motor vehicle on Florida roadways. To be valid, a license must be current (not expired), and not revoked, suspended, or canceled. If your license has been expired for less than six months, it’s a violation of Florida Statute 322.065. It is a non-criminal “infraction,” and the fine is $30.
Driving while your license is suspended or revoked is a second-degree misdemeanor for the first offense according to Statute 322.34. A second offense for driving while suspended is a first-degree misdemeanor, which can mean up to a year in jail, plus fines and probation.
The difference between being charged with driving while suspended and driving without a valid license is proof of knowledge that you were violating the law. To convict you of driving while suspended, the state must show that you knew that your driving privileges had been revoked. A prosecutor would have to show that you had received notice of the suspension or had a previous violation.
To convict you on a driving without a valid license charge, all the state has to show is that you were operating a motor vehicle without a proper driver’s license.
A Criminal Defense Attorney can Protect Your Rights
If you are facing criminal charges in Florida, a consultation with an experienced and aggressive criminal defense attorney can help find the best way forward. A good defense lawyer may be able to get the charges reduced or may even be able to have your case dismissed. It depends on the circumstances, but it’s always best to contact a lawyer as soon as possible after a brush with the law. Call (407) 349-4211 for a free consultation with the Orlando criminal defense attorneys at the Rivas Law Firm.