Driving Without a License Versus Driving Without a License on Person in Fort Walton Beach
Paul Brannon | August 3, 2022 | Florida Law
Many people believe that driving without a license in the state of Florida is no big deal. This couldn’t be further from the truth, however. If you are charged with driving without a valid license in Florida, you face potential short- and long-term repercussions and penalties—including hefty fines and jail time.
However, operating a motor vehicle without a valid license and simply forgetting to bring your license with you when driving are two separate things. This article examines the difference between driving without a valid license and driving without a license on you in Florida.
Driving Without a Valid License in Florida
Under Florida law, it is illegal for a person to drive a motor vehicle on a highway in Florida unless they possess a valid driver’s license issued by an appropriate governmental authority.
Section 322.01(17), Florida Statutes, defines a valid license as a certificate that authorizes an individual to drive a motor vehicle and denotes an operator’s license as defined in 49 U.S.C. 30301. Under that law, an operator’s license is a credential issued by a state that authorizes an individual to operate a motor vehicle on public highways, streets, or roads.
Why Would Someone Drive Without a Valid License in Florida?
People may drive without a valid license for many reasons, including:
- They were never issued a license in Florida
- Their license expired, and they failed to renew it
- Their license was revoked or suspended for a separate traffic violation
- They don’t meet the requirements for obtaining a driver’s license in Florida
Whatever the reason, the penalties if you’re caught driving without a valid license can be severe, especially if you’ve faced these charges in the past.
What Are the Penalties for Driving Without a Valid License in Florida?
Anyone convicted of driving without a valid license in Florida faces serious penalties.
Specifically, a conviction for driving without a valid license in Florida is punishable by up to 60 days in jail and a fine of up to $500. However, a driver with no criminal record is unlikely to face jail time for driving without a valid license in Florida. Further, a driver without a criminal record may be eligible to participate in a pre-trial diversion program that could result in dismissal of the driving without a license charge and possible expungement.
Driving Without a License on Your Person in Florida
As noted above, driving without a valid license is different from driving without a physical license on your person. In the first instance, the offending driver operates a motor vehicle despite not possessing a valid license. In the second instance, however, a driver simply forgets their valid license before driving.
In Florida, the penalties for driving without a license on your person are less severe than those for driving without a valid license.
Specifically, the failure to display one’s license upon the request of a law enforcement officer normally results in a citation for driving without a license. However, this doesn’t necessarily have to result in a conviction.
If the offending driver can later produce a license that was valid at the time of the citation, the court clerk may dismiss the ticket and collect a dismissal fee of up to $10 from the offending driver. If the ticket isn’t dismissed, however, the fine is $30.
Contact an Attorney For Help If You Were Charged With Driving Without a Valid License in Fort Walton Beach, FL
Whether you were charged with driving without a valid license or without a license on your person in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, an attorney can help you mitigate the penalties you may face.
If you were injured in a car accident caused by someone without a valid license, reach out to a personal injury lawyer to discuss your collision and the compensation you can receive.
Contact Our Car Accident Law Firm in Northwest Florida
We have two convenient locations in Northwest Florida:
Brannon & Brannon Personal Injury Attorneys – Destin Office
4507 Furling Ln Suite 214
Destin, FL 32541
Brannon & Brannon Personal Injury Attorneys – Fort Walton Beach Office
975 Mar Walt Dr
Fort Walton Beach, FL 32547