Driving with a suspended license in Florida is a criminal offense, and many individuals do not realize the seriousness of the consequences that these charges can include. Too often, individuals without the representation of Daytona Beach criminal lawyers plead guilty to these charges without being aware of the ramifications inflicted upon their driving privileges. Whether your license is currently suspended, or you’d like to know more about what happens to drivers that are charged with driving with a suspended license, we answer the question of whether or not you can drive with a suspended license in Florida.
Penalties for Driving with a Suspended License in Florida
Under Florida Statute 322.34, there are penalties for driving with a suspended license that increase in severity with each additional offense.
- A first offense can result in up to 60 days of jail time and a fine of up to $500.
- A second offence can be charged as a first-degree misdemeanor with up to 1 year of jail time and a fine of up to $1,000.
- A third offense can result in felony charges, as well as penalties of up to 5 years in prison and a maximum fine of $5,000.
The short answer to whether or not you can drive with a suspended license in Florida is no, and these penalties are in place to prevent individuals from attempting to drive while their license is suspended.
Reasons for License Suspension
In some cases, drivers may not even be aware that their license is suspended, which can make an arrest for driving with a suspended license come as a shock. However, ignorance is no defense in court. Ultimately, it is every individual’s responsibility to know whether or not their driving privileges are authorized by the state. We list a few common reasons for a license suspension below, including some that may come as a surprise to you.
- DUI arrest
- Sobriety test refusal
- Failure to pay fines or court costs
- Failure to appear in court
- Failure to maintain continuous car insurance
- Child support delinquency
What is a Florida Hardship License?
In Florida, some drivers with a suspended license may be eligible for a Florida Hardship License. This restricted license grants driving privileges for school-related activities or for business. The Florida Hardship License might be a viable option for you while you wait out your suspension period if you were convicted of your first DUI offense or otherwise have a clean driving record, and it is the only way to drive legally during your suspension. In order to qualify for a Florida Hardship License, you’ll need to go through the following steps.
- Complete a state-ordered DUI School or Advanced Driver Improvement course and get your free enrollment verification letter.
- Get your 30-day driving record from the county clerk’s office.
- Complete form HSMV 78306 to apply for a hardship hearing.
- Bring your enrollment verification letter, 30-day driving record, application, and two forms of identification to the nearest Administrative Reviews Office to submit the application.
- Pay all necessary fees, which include a $12 hardship hearing filing fee and $45 reinstatement fee.
- Wait to be contacted by the hearing officer that’s assigned to your case. If you are deemed eligible, then you’ll be able to get a hardship license.
If you have been charged with driving with a suspended license, then we recommend reaching out to experienced criminal lawyers in Daytona Beach, FL to assist with your case before pleading. A skilled defense attorney may be able to have your case thrown out, or otherwise minimize the penalties associated with a conviction for driving with a suspended license. This will offer you a better chance to avoid harsher fines and a further suspension of your license.