What Happens If You Drive Without a License In Florida?
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Driving without a license in Florida can have complicated consequences, including fines, suspension of your driver’s license, and even jail time.
Buckle up as we navigate through what happens if you drive without a license in Florida!
Table of Contents
- The Consequences of Driving Without a Valid Florida Driver's License
- Defenses Against Charges for Driving Without a License
- Exemptions to Possessing a Driver's License in Florida
- Penalties for Driving with an Expired or Suspended License
- Resolving Citations and Reinstating Your License
- The Severity of Habitual Traffic Offenses
- Best Car Deals by Category
- Frequently Asked Questions
The Consequences of Driving Without a Valid Florida Driver's License
So, you got caught driving without a valid license in the Sunshine State.
That’s a second-degree misdemeanor under Florida law.
Driving without a valid license is illegal in Florida and carries serious consequences.
If you're convicted, you could be looking at fines of up to $500 and even up to 60 days in jail. And that's not all. You'll also have a shiny new criminal record to show off.
Defenses Against Charges for Driving Without a License
An out-of-state or foreign driver's license can be used in your defense, provided it is still valid and hasn't expired in your state or nation of origin.
Also, note that you can purchase a car without a license.
Exemptions to Possessing a Driver's License in Florida
Not everyone on the road needs a valid Florida driver's license. Certain exemptions exist for specific individuals and circumstances.
Visitors from out of state, rejoice. You don't need a valid Florida driver's license to drive in the Sunshine State.
This also applies to non-residents with valid non-commercial licenses, provided their license hasn’t expired.
Additionally, golf cart drivers don't need a traditional motor vehicle operator's permit.
Penalties for Driving with an Expired or Suspended License
If you're caught operating a vehicle in Florida with an out-of-date license, prepare yourself for serious repercussions.
And if your license is suspended, the penalties may be worse.
Depending on the specifics of your case, you could be looking at hefty fines and even a stay in a jail cell.
If your license is over 6 months expired, or if you’re driving with a suspended license, you’re looking at up to a $500 fine and up to 60 days in jail.
Understanding Suspension vs Revocation
A suspended license means your driving privileges have been temporarily snatched away legally. It's usually due to violations like DUIs or racking up too many traffic offenses.
On the other hand, a revoked license is like the Grim Reaper of driving privileges. It's the permanent termination of your right to drive, typically reserved for serious offenses like vehicular homicide.
Resolving Citations and Reinstating Your License
If you're caught driving without a valid Florida driver's license, it's not the end of the road. You can still fix it.
To get back on track, complete an approved traffic school course or show proof of insurance to Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV).
Reinstating your suspended license? Just pay the fees, but they vary depending on why your license got suspended.
The Severity of Habitual Traffic Offenses
Becoming labeled as a Habitual Traffic Offender can have serious consequences on your driving privileges and criminal record.
This label applies to motorists who repeatedly break traffic laws. They may face license suspension for up to five years.
Felony Charges for Repeat Violators
If you're caught driving with a revoked license due to being a habitual offender, it's not just about fines or vehicle impoundment - felony charges could be on the horizon.
Driving with a suspended license as an HTO in Florida could lead to prison time of up to five years, fines of up to $5,000, or both.
Potential Prison Sentences
In addition to hefty fines, repeat offenders may face long prison sentences that significantly impact their lives beyond the roads of Florida.
HTO drivers could face up to five years in prison.
- Read our guide on what happens if you get pulled over with a learner's permit.
Frequently Asked Questions
What happens if you drive without a license in Florida?
If you drive without a license in Florida, you could face up to $500 in fines, up to 60 days in jail, and possible suspension of your license.
Do you have to drive with your license in Florida?
Yes, you have to drive with your license in Florida.
What happens if you get caught driving with only a permit in Florida?
If you get caught driving with only a permit in Florida, you could be fined and receive a ticket.
Will you go to jail for driving without a license in Florida?
You can go to jail for driving without a license in Florida.