Driving Without a License in Florida

What does it mean to drive while your license is expired, revoked, suspended or cancelled?

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 fine.)
  • 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.
  • Your 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:

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