Driving without a Valid Driver’s License - Florida Statute 322.03

traffic offenses

Have you been given a notice to appear or citation for driving without a valid driver’s license? Florida Statute 322.03 makes it a crime to drive a vehicle without a valid driver’s license.

Examples of individuals who get charged with this crime:

  • Individuals who never had a driver’s license.
  • Individuals who did have a driver’s license but it has since been expired for more than 6 months.
  • A person without a motorcycle endorsement driving a motorcycle or a person without a car endorsement driving a car.
  • Individuals who have driver’s licenses that are suspended, revoked, or canceled but the police officer chooses to charge you with this statute as opposed to Florida Statute 322.34.

A person who has a driver’s license that is suspended, revoked, or canceled will most likely be charged the next time under 322.34. If you are convicted three times in five years for driving under a suspended, revoked, or canceled license, you will become a habitual traffic offender under Florida Statute 322.264 which is punished with a 5 year driver’s license revocation. Interestingly, an individual who has never had a driver’s license cannot be charged as a habitual traffic offender. See Crain v. State.

A common use for this statute is for plea deal negotiations since it is a lesser included offense in a driving under suspension, revocation, or cancelation charge and does not carry the potential of being one of the three “strikes” to getting a habitual traffic offender designation.

If you have been charged with this crime, call our offices and do not continue to drive. If you pick up more charges, a prosecutor will be less lenient during plea negotiations since you are actively continuing to break the law.

What the State Prosecutor Has to Prove to Convict a Defendant of This Crime

The state prosecutor has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt either:

(1) The defendant drove a motor vehicle upon a highway in this state; and

(2) At the time, he did not have a valid driver’s license recognized by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles of the State of Florida.

Defenses

One defense to this crime is that you did in fact have a valid driver’s license but you did not have it on you at the time.

Punishment

If you are driving a commercial vehicle without a commercial driver’s license, it is a first-degree misdemeanor which is punishable up to 365 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.

If you are driving a non-commercial vehicle without a driver’s license, this is a second-degree misdemeanor which is punishable up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine.

If the driver acts carelessly or negligently in the vehicle’s operation and another person is killed or seriously injured, it is a third-degree felony punishable up to 5 years in prison and a $5,000 fine.

If you were driving under the influence with no valid driver’s license, you can have your vehicle seized and forfeited.

Contact The Law Office of Roger P. Foley, P.A.

If you have been charged with this crime, call our law offices today. We can help you fight this charge. Our law offices focus on criminal cases and we have experience in handling many of these cases. Call today to schedule a free consultation to meet with one of our attorneys and discuss any questions you might have.

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