If you are caught driving a motor vehicle without possessing the proper valid commercial license (CDL) in Florida, you can face criminal charges. The specific punishments for a commercial driver lacking their license will depend on the individual factors of the case. However, one thing is consistent across the various severities of this offense. If you are a commercial driver who has been charged with lacking the correct license, you should prioritize finding a knowledgeable and experienced criminal defense attorney.
Firstly, the charges surrounding driving with no valid commercial license will differ from charges related to driving with a suspended or revoked commercial license. There are additional differences between the way these two charges are handled. If you are a commercial driver who has received a license suspension or revocation, the prosecution must prove that you had full knowledge of this. However, if you lack a valid commercial driver’s license entirely, this will not be the case.
Regardless of which category your case falls in to, you should ensure you have the backing of worthwhile criminal defense attorneys. This is because the criminal record that you will receive following a guilty charge could have long-lasting implications on your future. The search for employment, reasonable insurance premiums, as well as a number of other things, will become more difficult as a result.
The Law Place in Bradenton has a wealth of experience fighting traffic crimes. Our team has amassed over 75 years of combined experience. For more information and free legal advice, call our office today for a free consultation over the telephone. The entire time spent on the phone will be covered by the confidentiality of the attorney-client relationship and will be at no obligation.
Call us on (941) 444-4444 for more information today!
Key Differences Between No License and Revoked/Suspended License Charges in Florida
Florida Statute 322.03 contains the specific legal information surrounding the above offenses.
You can expect to be treated differently if you are charged with driving without a valid commercial license (CDL) or with a commercial license that has been either suspended or revoked.
In cases of a charge for entirely lacking a commercial license, the prosecution does not need to prove that you had any knowledge of relevant laws or specific information. The only thing the prosecution needs to prove is that you were, in fact, driving a commercial vehicle while lacking the necessary license.
On the contrary, if you face a charge of driving with a driver’s license that had already been suspended or revoked, the State of Florida will require the prosecution to prove that you had knowledge of this revocation or suspension. Also, this charge does not contribute to accumulated traffic violations that count towards you being labeled as a habitual traffic offender.
Commercial drivers who repeatedly break this law three or more times in a period of five years will have their license revoked for up to 5 years. It should be noted that this is not the case for those driving while entirely lacking a license for commercial drivers.
License Categories in the State of Florida
Florida has seven different types of licenses available to drivers. We will discuss which license corresponds to which Florida driver below.
If you are learning to drive, you are required to possess a learner’s license until you have earned your Class E license.
Bus and truck drivers drive motor vehicles that fall under the jurisdiction of commercial drivers. This means that they will need to possess a commercial driver’s license, which is otherwise known by the name of a CDL.
The rules for motorcyclists are different once again. These require something called a motorcycle endorsement. This is an add-on to a Class E license.
There are also other endorsements for various different types of motor vehicles in Florida.
Class E Licenses
These are the standard type of driver’s license for those driving a vehicle that is non-commercial, and therefore a personal motor vehicle.
This type of license allows the holder to drive a motor vehicle with a maximum weight capped-out at 26,001 pounds.
Motor vehicles that commonly fall into this class include:
- RVs, or recreational vehicles.
- Motor vehicles that are not motorbikes but do have two or three wheels. For example, scooters and mopeds.
- Vans with a maximum capacity of fifteen people. This includes the person driving the vehicle.
Class E Learner’s Licenses
These are given to people who are still learning to drive a vehicle.
The following are the relevant legal requirements and limitations of a learner’s license:
- The holder can only drive during the daytime for the first three months of having their license. After this period, the driver may operate their vehicle within the confines of Florida law until up to 10 PM.
- By law, the holder must be accompanied by someone who has a full driver’s license. They must supervise the learner’s driving.
- There is a much lower vehicle weight boundary of 8,000 pounds.
- There is no way a motorcycle can be operated in a legal manner by someone with only a Florida learner’s license.
These are added onto an existing Class E driver’s license in order to allow the holder to ride a motorcycle.
To obtain this kind of endorsement, you must:
- Complete a basic rider course.
- Visit the appropriate branch and exchange a fee for the endorsement. This can be done any time in the year that follows the completion of the basic rider course.
If you are only interested in driving motorcycles and not cars, this is an entirely possible alternative in the State of Florida.
A motorcycle-only license can be acquired by:
- Passing a test on Class E driving knowledge.
- Possessing a learner’s license for a period of a year without having received any kind of traffic violation or ticket.
- Completing the basic rider course mentioned above.
The Different Types of License Available to Commercial Drivers in Florida
There are several types of licenses available to those who wish to drive commercial vehicles, such as buses or large trucks.
The three different types are as follows:
- Class A – This allows you to drive trucks weighing up to 26,001 pounds. It will also allow the towing of vehicles or trailers, which can weigh an additional 10,000 pounds.
- Class B – This allows you to drive trucks weighing up to 26,001 pounds.
- Class C – This allows you to drive trucks weighing up to 26,001 pounds. In addition, it also allows the driver to transport more than 15 people and hazardous materials requiring official notice by law.
There are complexities and exceptions to the law for other vehicles like emergency motor vehicles, school buses, and tanker trucks.
The FHSMV website hosts a comprehensive list of endorsements and exceptions in Florida law. However, you could also call or contact The Law Place offices and find out more.
License Suspension or Revocation Explained
You may have your license suspended or revoked for various levels of traffic offenses or violations.
These include, but are not limited to, driving under the influence offense (DUI), reckless driving, or leaving the scene of an accident before the authorities arrive.
In some cases, license suspension can be lessened by acquiring a hardship license, which will allow you to drive to work even during your license suspension. However, certain violations will render you ineligible for a hardship license, no matter how good your lawyer is.
For more information, call us at our Bradenton law firm office, and someone from our team of lawyers will arrange to help you achieve this.
Penalties for Driving Without the Valid License
If you are caught operating a vehicle without the appropriate license, you will need the help of a lawyer or team of lawyers to help fight your charges.
The consequences if you do not seek the assistance of an attorney will be:
- Up to a $500 fine.
- 60 days of your time spent in prison.
- A criminal record.
Contact The Law Place Today
If you are fighting a charge of driving without a valid license or one that is under suspension or revocation, we know you have the choice of a large number of lawyers.
However, lawyers from The Law Place have 75 years of combined experience providing aggressive defense in cases just like yours.
Your primary attorney will be backed by a team of other attorneys lending their opinion and experience. After you contact us, you will go through a free consultation and free case evaluation to ensure your full knowledge about the process lying ahead. All of this will be protected by the attorney-client relationship.
Our attorneys will provide you, our prospective client, with a fully-disclosed figure for your defense with the option of a payment plan should you have any difficulty paying.
To benefit from being a client of the attorneys at our office, contact us on (941) 444-4444!