If you are caught driving any vehicle without a proper license in Florida, then you could face criminal charges. The specific punishments vary depending on individual circumstances. Regardless, you could benefit massively by securing a criminal defense attorney to represent you.
A commercial vehicle such as a bus requires a specific license but so does a motorcycle or even a large RV. You may be accused of driving without a valid license, but perhaps you were simply unaware that you were acting outside the limits of your license. Either way, your driving privileges could be taken away, among other punishments.
A criminal charge could result in sky-high insurance premiums, difficulty keeping or finding new employment, and other difficulties. That is why it is important to seek representation.
The Law Place in North Port has a long history of defending clients who have committed traffic violations in Florida. With over 75 years of combined experience, our lawyers are awaiting your call. So contact us now for a free, no-obligation consultation.
Call us on (941) 444-4444 today! Phone lines are open 24/7.
Key Differences Between No License and Revoked/Suspended License Charges in Florida
As per Florida Statute 322.03, the charges for driving without a valid commercial license (CDL) or driving following revocation or suspension of a CDL are different.
For the former offense, the prosecutor will only need to prove that you were, in fact, driving without the necessary license.
However, if you were driving following a license suspension, the prosecution will need to prove that not only did you have an invalid license, but you were also aware of this.
If you have previous offenses, then you will be treated more harshly. For example, if you received traffic violations three times or more over the past five years, then you could have your license revoked for up to five years, even if you were unaware that your license was invalid.
Drivers License Categories in the State of Florida
Florida has seven different types of licenses available for commercial drivers. If you are learning to drive and have not yet passed a test, then you are required to have a learner’s license until you secure your Class E license.
Motorcyclists require a motorcycle endorsement, which is an add-on to the Class E driver’s license.
On the other hand, bus and truck drivers fall under the category of commercial drivers, which means that they are required to carry a commercial driver’s license or CDL.
There are also various other endorsements for different types of vehicles in Florida.
If you were driving a type of vehicle that is not covered by your license, then you could be facing hefty penalties, even if you did so without knowledge. Speak to a criminal defense lawyer at The Law Place today so that we can advise you about your specific case.
Class E Drivers Licenses
A Class E license is a standard driver’s license. This is suitable for most personal vehicles that are non-commercial. It allows the driver to operate a vehicle with a maximum weight of 26,001 pounds. This covers:
- Small RVs.
- Motor vehicles that have two or three wheels that are not motorbikes, such as mopeds or scooters.
- Vans within the weight limit and with a maximum capacity of 15 people (including the driver).
Learner’s Drivers License
Learner licenses, as the name suggests, are for learners. They have certain limitations on them, as listed below:
- For the first three months, learners are only permitted to drive in the daylight.
- Following this period, they can drive a vehicle up until 10 PM.
- Learners must be accompanied by someone with a full driver’s license who can supervise their driving.
- The weight boundary on a learner’s license is 8,000 pounds.
- A learner is not permitted to drive a motorcycle anywhere in Florida.
If you were unaware of these rules and are being accused of a traffic offense, then speak to a criminal defense lawyer in North Port today. We will do everything possible to have your charges dropped.
Motorcycle endorsements are added to a Class E driver’s license. This is what allows you to drive a motorcycle. To obtain this endorsement in North Port, you will need to:
- Complete a BasicRider Course.
- Visit the appropriate branch and exchange a fee for the endorsement.
Perhaps you are interested in driving motorcycles but not cars. In North Port and throughout Florida, this is possible. However, you will need to:
- Pass a test on Class E driving knowledge.
- Possess a learner’s license for a period of a year without receiving any traffic violations or tickets.
- Complete the BasicRider course.
The Different Types of Driver’s License Available to Commercial Drivers in Florida
If you drive a commercial vehicle such as a bus or a large truck, then there are different license options available, which are valid for different sizes of vehicles. If you are found to be driving a vehicle that is larger than what your license covers, then you could be charged with driving with an invalid driver’s license and will need a criminal defense lawyer to represent you.
The different types are listed below:
- Class A – Allows you to drive vehicles weighing up to 26,001 pounds, as well as the towing of vehicles or trailers, which can weigh an additional 10,000 pounds.
- Class B – Allows you to drive trucks weighing up to 26,001 pounds.
- Class C – Allows you to drive trucks weighing up to 26,001 pounds. Class C also allows you to transport more than 15 people and hazardous materials.
The laws around which driver’s license you are required to carry are complex. There are exceptions to those listed above for things like emergency motor vehicles, tanker trucks, and school buses. The FHSMV website lists a comprehensive list of endorsements and exceptions in Florida law.
Because of these complexities, it is easy to see why someone might be unaware that they were acting beyond the boundaries of their license. This is a common defense with these types of traffic violations. However, it is important to note that under Florida law, you have a duty to make yourself aware of road laws and follow them accordingly.
License Suspension or Revocation Explained
Various types of traffic violations lead to a license suspension or revocation, for example, reckless driving, a DUI, or leaving the scene of an accident.
This can have a huge impact on your life, especially if you use your vehicle to get to work. A criminal defense attorney will fight to keep your license. However, where this is not possible, they may also help you obtain a hardship license, which will allow you to drive to work during your license suspension. However, certain violations will render you ineligible for a hardship license, regardless of the quality of your representation.
For information on your specific case, contact a law firm such as The Law Place today and arrange a free consultation. Once your license has been revoked, it will be too late to seek representation.
Penalties for Driving Without the Valid License
If you are caught operating a vehicle without the correct license, then you could face:
- Up to a $500 fine.
- 60 days in prison.
- License revocation.
- A criminal record.
A criminal defense lawyer will do everything possible to have your charges dropped, and where this is not possible, they will work to have your penalties lessened.
Contact The Law Place Today
If you are facing a charge of driving without a valid license, then you should contact a law firm as quickly as possible so that they can get to work developing a defense strategy.
At The Law Place, we have over 75 years of combined experience and work as a team to develop an aggressive defense. At which point, a North Port lawyer will become your advocate and will be there to offer advice and support you through your journey.
Most of our attorneys have the highest possible AVVO rating of 10.0, based on years of service and client reviews. We are upfront about cost so that you are not left with any surprise bills. Payment plans are also available so that the cost of quality representation does not have to impact your life.
Contact us for a free consultation and find out what we can do for your case. Anything you tell us will be protected by the attorney-client relationship, so you do not need to worry about incriminating yourself.
Contact us today at (941) 444-4444! Phone lines are open 24/7.