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Under Florida law, it is a criminal offense and second degree misdemeanor to drive on a Florida highway without a valid driver’s license that conforms to the requirements of Chapter 322, Florida Statutes.  If you have been arrested or cited for “No Valid Driver’s License,” contact an experienced Jacksonville criminal attorney at Hussein & Webber, PL to discuss your legal options.

With an attorney at your side, it is usually possible to avoid a criminal conviction and reinstate your driving privileges.  Prosecutors in Jacksonville and elsewhere in Florida will often amend a charge of no valid driver’s license to a civil infraction (non-criminal ticket) if you are able to get your Florida license back within a reasonable time period. In eligible cases, the charge is typically amended to “failure to display” a valid driver’s license. Where this fails, our firm works towards negotiating the best possible resolution in your case so you can avoid a technical conviction and harsh criminal penalties.   

No Valid License is a Criminal Offense Under Florida Law

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 the statute, 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 Drivers License- Florida

Under Florida law, the crime of No Valid Drivers 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.  

Difference Between No Valid License and Suspended License- Florida

In Florida, No Valid Drivers License differs from a charge of driving on a suspended or revoked license in terms of the elements of the offense and the penalties and consequences of the offense.  First, a charge of no valid drivers license does not require the prosecution to prove a knowledge element.  The offense is committed where the State can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused drove a motor vehicle on a highway while his license was expired, revoked, canceled, or suspended.  It does not matter whether the accused knew of the suspension, cancellation, revocation, or expiration. An accused’s driver’s license status is proven at trial through the simple introduction of a Department of Motor Vehicles certified driving record.

No Valid Drivers License is also distinguished from suspended or revoked license 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 accumulated 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.

Despite the fact that “no valid driver’s license” will not result in classification as a habitual traffic offender, a conviction will nonetheless create criminal record. Even for a seemingly innocuous traffic offense, this can have a devastating impact on employment prospects, college applications, insurance premiums, and other aspects of your financial and personal life.  With the assistance of an attorney, this consequence can often be avoided.

If you have been charged with No Valid Drivers License Jacksonville, Florida contact our criminal attorney at Hussein & Webber, PL.  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.  Call our office today for a free consultation.