“No Valid Driver’s License” is a Criminal Offense

Under Section 322.03, Florida Statutes, it is a criminal act for a person to drive any “motor vehicle” on a state “highway” unless that person has a valid driver’s license.

To “drive” means that a person operates or is in actual physical control of a motor vehicle in any place open to the general public for vehicular traffic. “Motor vehicle” is defined as any vehicle which is self-propelled, including a moped, but not any vehicle moved solely by human power, motorized wheelchair, or motorized bicycle. “Street” or “highway” means the entire width between the boundary lines of every way or place, or any part thereof, which is open to the public.

For purposes of Chapter 322, a valid driver’s license means that the person has a valid license recognized by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles and which is not expired and has not been suspended, canceled, or revoked.

Penalties for No Valid Driver’s License

Under Florida law, the crime of No Valid Driver’s License is classified as a second degree misdemeanor, with penalties of up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine. Although the majority of cases will not result in a jail penalty, the principal consequence of a No Valid License conviction is that it results in a permanent criminal record for the accused.

No Valid License vs. Suspended License

In Florida, No Valid Driver’s License differs from a charge of Driving with a Suspended or Revoked License in terms of the elements of the offense and the consequences of the offense. First, a No Valid Driver’s License charge does not require the prosecution to prove a knowledge element. The State needs only to show that the defendant was driving and that there was no valid license issued. A person’s license status is proven at trial through the simple introduction of a Department of Motor Vehicles certified driving record.

No Valid Driver’s License is also distinguished from a Suspended or Revoked License charge in that a conviction does not count towards classifying the accused as a habitual traffic offender. Where a person drives on a suspended or revoked license and accumulates three or more such convictions within a five-year period, he or she will lose their Florida license for five years. This harsh consequence does not apply where the charge is No Valid Driver’s License.

Although “no valid driver’s license” will not cause habitual traffic offender status, a conviction will nonetheless create criminal record. Even for a seemingly innocuous traffic offense, this can have a negative impact on employment applications, college applications, insurance premiums, and other aspects of your professional and daily life. With the assistance of an attorney, this consequence can often be avoided.

If you have been charged with No Valid Driver’s License Jacksonville or the surrounding counties of Northeast Florida, contact Hussein & Webber, PL for a free consultation. Our Jacksonville attorneys will help you obtain or restore your driving privileges and work to have the charges dismissed, amended, or mitigated so as to avoid the harsh effects of a criminal conviction.