Driving on a Suspended License in Florida

Many criminal, civil, or other matters could cause a Floridian’s license to be suspended or revoked. Suspension is a temporary withdrawal of your license. (Fla. Stat. § 322.01(40.) Revocation means Florida terminates your privilege to drive. (Fla. Stat. § 322.01(36). If you drive with a suspended or revoked license, you could face a range of criminal penalties.

Reasons for a Drivers License Suspension in Florida

Certain driving offenses, felony convictions, or civil matters may cause your license to be suspended or revoked. For example, your license may be suspended or revoked for up to two years if you are convicted for certain controlled-substance offenses. (Fla. Stat. § 322.055(1).) It may be suspended in certain cases if you are delinquent in child support payments. If you fail to pay obligations(such as restitution) from certain criminal convictions, your license may be suspended. (Fla. Stat. § 322.245.)

The state of Florida may also suspend your license if you accumulate points on your driving record for driving or traffic violations. Points accumulate through driving violations such as speeding or illegally passing a school bus (Fla. Stat. § 322.27(3)(d).) Suspensions begin at 12 points. (Fla. Stat. § 322.27(3).)

Additionally, your license may be revoked for certain criminal convictions, including, but not limited to:

  • murder or manslaughter charges resulting from driving,
  • certain violations for driving under the influence,
  • a felony, if a vehicle was used to commit it,
  • failing to stop after being involved in a crash in which someone is killed or injured
  • making a false statement to the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles relating to the ownership or operation of a vehicle
  • three convictions for reckless driving within 12 months, or
  • certain prostitution charges, if a vehicle was used. (Fla. Stat. § 322.26.)

Your license may be also revoked if the state of Florida considers you a habitual offender of certain traffic laws. (Fla. Stat. § 322.27(5).)

Reinstating your License

You should not get behind the wheel if your license is suspended or revoked. After your period of suspension or revocation, you will need to apply for reinstatement before you may drive again. You may need to apply for a new license if your license was revoked.

The reinstatement fee for a suspended license is $45. The fee is $75 for a revoked license, plus the application fee for a new license. (Fla. Stat. § 322.21(8).)

If your revocation or suspension was due to DUI or refusing to submit to a test to determine whether you are intoxicated, you may be charged another $130. (Fla. Stat. § 322.21.) In some situations, such as if your suspension or revocation is due to a false or fraudulent insurance claim, you may be charged an additional $180 for reinstatement. (Fla. Stat. § 322.21.)

Charges for Driving After Suspension or Revocation

If you are charged with driving after suspension or revocation in Florida, the type of charge may depend on whether you have previous convictions for driving after suspension or revocation. The following apply to many, but not all, situations:

  • Your first conviction may be a second-degree misdemeanor, punishable by a maximum fine of $500 and a maximum of 60 days in jail. (Fla. Stat. § § 322.24(2)(a), 775.082(4)(b), 775.083(e).)
  • Your second conviction may be a first-degree misdemeanor, punishable by a maximum $1,000 fine and a maximum of one year in jail. (Fla. Stat. § § 322.24(2)(a), 775.083(d), 775.082(4)(a).)
  • Your third or subsequent conviction may be a third-degree felony, punishable by a maximum fine of $5,000 or a maximum of five years in prison. (Fla. Stat. § § 322.24(2)(a), 775.083(c), 775.082(3)(d).)

If your license is revoked because the state of Florida considers you a habitual offender, you may be charged with a third-degree felony for driving after revocation. The maximum penalties noted above for a third-degree felony (or other penalties) may apply. (Fla. Stat. § § 322.24(5), 775.083(c), 775.082(3)(d), 775.084.)

In some situations, your vehicle may be impounded. (Fla. Stat. § § 322.34(8).)

Seeking Help for Charges of Driving After Suspension or Revocation

If you are charged with driving after suspension or revocation in Florida, consider hiring a lawyer to represent you. A conviction may result in fines or even a jail sentence. You may experience problems keeping employment, traveling to school, obtaining insurance, and going about your daily life. Although the law provides specific penalties for a conviction, your sentence will depend on how prosecutors and the courts view the crime. An attorney who is familiar with how these cases are handled in your area will be able to provide guidance about your individual situation.

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