Jacksonville, FL No Motorcycle Endorsement Defense Attorney
Under Florida law, driving a motorcycle without a valid motorcycle endorsement on
your license is a criminal offense that can result in substantial fines and a permanent
criminal record. If you have been cited in Jacksonville, FL for “No Motorcycle Endorsement,”
contact an experienced criminal attorney to discuss your legal options. An attorney
is a critical asset for minimizing the possibility of a conviction.
Is No Motorcycle Endorsement a Criminal Charge in Florida?
Yes. Under Section 322.03(4), Florida Statutes, it is a criminal act for a person
to operate a motorcycle without holding a driver’s license that authorizes such
operation, subject to the appropriate restrictions and endorsements. “No Motorcycle
Endorsement” is classified as a second degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to 60
days in jail or six months probation. The maximum fine is $500.00, in addition to
court costs, costs of prosecution, and costs of supervision (if probation is ordered).
How is a Charge of No Motorcycle Endorsement Proven?
The charge of “No Motorcycle Endorsement” consists of two elements: (1) the defendant
drove a motorcycle, and (2) while driving that motorcycle, the defendant did not
have a driver’s license with the appropriate motorcycle endorsement. There is no
knowledge requirement to sustain a conviction.
Proving the charge of No Motorcycle Endorsement, or No Valid Endorsement at trial
is a straightforward matter for the prosecution. The prosecutor will first call
the police officer as a witness to establish the defendant as the driver. During
the officer’s direct testimony, the prosecutor will then seek to introduce a certified
copy of the defendant’s Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) driving
record, which display the status of the defendant’s license at the time of the traffic
stop. Under Florida rules of evidence, the DHSMV record qualifies as a self-authenticating
document, and thus it can be introduced into evidence without the necessity of a
foundation witness (such as a custodian of records). If the record shows the absence
of an endorsement, the outcome is almost certain to be a conviction.
Will a Plea to No Motorcycle Endorsement Result in a Criminal Record?
Yes. Since it is a criminal charge, any plea (even a withhold of adjudication) will
result in a criminal record. If there is a withhold of adjudication, the record
may be sealed and, after ten years, expunged (see our discussion of Sealing and Expunging
Florida Criminal Records), but until that is done, the plea will remain part of the
public record. If you are adjudicated guilty, a plea will result in a permanent
criminal record that can never be sealed and never be expunged.
Can I Avoid a Criminal Record if Charged with No Motorcycle Endorsement?
In many cases, yes. Criminal charges for No Motorcycle Endorsement can often be dismissed
or reduced to a civil infraction if appropriate steps are taken in the early stages
of a case. If you intend to keep the motorcycle and you subsequently obtain a proper
endorsement, prosecutors will often drop the case or offer to amend the charge to
civil infraction such as “Failure to Display a Valid Driver’s License.” An attorney
is a critical asset in negotiating for this type of resolution. Where negotiations
fail, an attorney may be able challenge the basis of the officer’s traffic stop,
if the officer lacked probable cause or reasonable suspicion to stop or detain the
accused in the first place.
If you have been charged with “No Motorcycle Endorsement” in Jacksonville, FL, consult
with a Jacksonville criminal defense attorney prior to resolving your case. Our attorneys
will explore possible legal defenses on your behalf and attempt to negotiate a resolution
that avoids the serious long-term consequences of a criminal conviction. Contact
Hussein & Webber, PL today for a free consultation.