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.
Is “No Valid Driver’s License” a Criminal Offense in Florida?
Yes. 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.
How is “No Valid Driver’s License” Different from Driving on a Suspended or Revoked
In Florida, “no valid driver’s license” differs from a charge of driving on a suspended
or revoked license both in terms of the elements of the offense and the penalties
and consequences of the offense. First, a charge of no valid driver’s 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 Driver’s License is also distinguished from suspended / 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 Driver’s License Jacksonville, FL, contact
our criminal attorney at Hussein & Webber, PL. Our attorneys will help you 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.