What does it mean to “drive without a license” in Florida?
Driving without a license can refer to three scenarios.
You’re stopped for an offense and:
- You have
a license but it’s not in your possession. In other words, you were
licensed to drive but lacked proof, an infraction that may be dismissed once
you can prove that you possessed a valid license at the time of the
incident. (Note: you may have to pay a
- You never
applied for a license (or your license expired). Florida
Statutes Section 322.03 states that, “Except as otherwise authorized in
this chapter, a person may not drive any motor vehicle upon a highway in this
state unless such person has a valid driver’s license issued under this
chapter.” Any person whose driver’s license has been expired for 4 months or
less is guilty of an infraction and subject to a fine.
license was cancelled, revoked or suspended by the authorities. This
offense is punishable as misdemeanor (resulting in a fine and possible jail
time) unless it’s a third offense in which case it is treated as a felony. (Florida Statutes §
775.082). The offense is actually broken into classes: Driving While
License Suspended (DWLS) Without Knowledge is a civil infraction. (Florida
Statute 322.34 (1)) This is a lesser offense that occurs when you did not know
your license was suspended. The more serious offense is DWLS With Knowledge, a criminal infraction
(second degree misdemeanor)and is considered a major moving violation.
Who doesn’t have to have a valid Florida driver’s license?
Florida exempts the following persons from having to possess
a valid Florida license: