Having a driver’s license is something most people take for granted. It’s something we don’t really think about once we’ve had it for a while. But if you’ve had the misfortune of having your driver’s license suspended, you know firsthand how essential it is in our lives.
If your driving rights are temporarily halted for a couple of weeks, you may be able to find alternative solutions in the meantime: Asking a family member to drive you somewhere, or hiring a Lyft or Uber driver. After a while, though, that gets (a) really annoying to the person who’s doing you the favor (no matter how much they love you), and (b) pretty expensive if you’re paying a third party for rides.
So if a lapse in judgement landed you in this position, it’s good to take steps to ensure that you don’t lose your license permanently.
Reasons Why Your Driver’s License Could be Suspended
There are several reasons why someone could lose their driving privileges. The most common ones are the following:
– DUI (driving under the influence of either drugs or alcohol)
– Falling behind on Child Support payments
– Failing to appear in Court
– Being a habitual traffic offender
– Regularly failing to pay for traffic tickets
– Failure to complete Driving Improvement School
– Having too many points on your driving record
– Having inadequate vision
What if My License is Suspended and I Need to Drive Anyway?
There are so many cars out there anyway. What if you just risk it and go to work, run your errands, and have a social life? We strongly advise against doing so.
Florida law is clear on the consequences of driving while a license is suspended, revoked, or canceled:
If you’re caught driving without a license, the first time you’d be charged with a misdemeanor. You’d also get fined up to $500.00, and you’d be facing up to 60 days in jail.
If you’re caught a second time, it’s still a misdemeanor, but you’d be facing up to a year in jail.
If you’re caught a third time, you’d be charged with a felony, and spend up to five years in prison and be fined up to $5,000. This is where it can get really ugly, since most college and job applications require you to disclose whether you’ve ever been convicted of a felony. So, on top of going to the clinker and paying a hefty fine, you’d be hard pressed to get a good job once you’ve served your time.
What if I Didn’t Know my Driver’s License was Suspended?
Saying this in court would be the equivalent of telling a teacher that your dog ate your homework. There might be a possibility that it’s true, but it’s highly unlikely. This is because driver’s licenses don’t get revoked on a whim.
For example, if you’ve previously a DUI, you already know you’re in hot water regarding your driving privileges. Similarly, if you’ve fallen behind on Child Support payments, you probably know about that too; especially since you’d be getting several notices in the mail giving you chances to either pay what you owe or request a hearing prior to your license being suspended.
And yes, people move, but when you have an existing case pending (such as previous DUIs, Child Support, Traffic Violation hearings, or any other court case), you are under an obligation to notify the Court of any changes in your contact information. So, if notices were mailed to you to the address on record, it’s presumed that you received them.
Can I Lose my Florida Driver’s License Permanently?
A driver’s license can be suspended for anywhere between 30 days to a year. Where on the range you fall will depend on the reason it was suspended in the first place, and how many times you’ve been an offender.
A license could be revoked for up to five years if a person is a habitual traffic offender.
As to whether an individual could lose their Florida Driver’s License forever, the answer is yes. Florida Statutes §322.28 establishes several reasons for permanently revoking a person’s driver’s license.
– Being convicted four times of driving under the influence
– Being convicted of DUI manslaughter
– Being convicted of murder resulting from the operation of a motor vehicle
What Happens if I Need to Drive to Work While my License is Suspended?
If the reason for the suspension was due to traffic offenses, you can apply for a Florida Hardship License. Keep in mind that this type of license only allows a person to drive for employment or business purposes.
To apply for a Hardship License, you’ll need to contact an Administrative Reviews Office, take the required test, enroll in Advanced Driver Improvement school, and pay the required fees.
If your Florida driver’s license has been suspended or revoked, call us for help.
There are many factors that influence what could happen in a driver’s license suspension case. If you’re dealing with this issue, call us for assistance.
Contact us through our website or call us at 727-478-4125 for a free consultation.
Disclaimer: This blog is intended to be for informational purposes only and does not establish an attorney/client relationship.