If you are caught operating a commercial vehicle in Orlando without a valid commercial driver’s license (CDL), you will be charged with “no valid” driver’s license under Florida law. This law is outlined under Florida Statute 322.03. Losing your commercial driver’s license can have serious consequences. The penalties you encounter will depend on your conviction history and current license status. Not only this, but a conviction for driving without a valid license can make it difficult to find future employment as a commercial driver.
It is within your best interest to contact a criminal defense attorney as soon as you have been caught driving without a valid driver’s license. This is a serious criminal offense that can result in you serving severe penalties. Our team at The Law Place will do all they can to ensure your charges get reduced or dropped. To organize a free consultation with one of our criminal defense attorneys, call us now at (941)-444-4444.
Proving a No Valid License Charge
In the state of Florida, it only needs to be proved that you don’t have a valid driver’s license and that you were driving a commercial motor vehicle to be convicted of this offense. The prosecution does not need to prove that you were aware that you did not have a valid license. This means that if you have accidentally forgotten that your license had expired or been suspended, you will still face conviction.
It is therefore important that you keep a record of your commercial driver’s license. For a license to be valid in Orlando, it must have a class endorsement and not be suspended, revoked, expired, or canceled. If you are unsure about the status of your license, you should contact the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) department.
Penalties for Driving Without a Valid Commercial Driver’s License
Regardless of whether you have a suspended or revoked license, the penalties awarded for driving without a valid commercial driver’s license are the same. People with expired licenses may encounter a slightly less fine depending on how long it has been since the expiration of their license.
If this is your first conviction for driving without a valid commercial driver’s license, you will likely be charged with a second-degree misdemeanor. With this conviction, you may have to pay a fine of up to $500 and serve up to 60 days in prison.
The second time you are caught operating a commercial motor vehicle without a license in Orlando, you will be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor. This is the highest possible degree of a misdemeanor charge. For this level of conviction, you can expect to face a fine of up to $1,000 and be made to serve up to one year of jail time.
Third and Subsequent Violation
If this is your third offense or more, you must contact a criminal defense attorney urgently. This is because, after three convictions, you will be labeled as a habitual traffic offender. Receiving this title is bad because it means that your driver’s license could be revoked for up to five years. This revocation is mandatory as no law enables this period to be shortened or altered.
Not only will you become a habitual traffic offender, but you will be charged with a third-degree felony. Felonies are far more serious charges than misdemeanors as they carry harsher penalties. For this level of conviction, you can expect to face a fine up of to $5,000 and serve up to five years in prison. To avoid the label “habitual traffic offender” being placed on your permanent criminal record, you need to do all you can to avoid points. At The Law Place, we can challenge your charges to try and avoid you from being convicted.
Impact of Driving Without a Valid Driver’s License
Once you have been convicted of driving without a valid commercial driver’s license in Orlando, your life will be hugely impacted. Not only will you have to pay a fine, serve jail time, and suffer a longer license suspension period, but your future will also be impacted. A conviction can make it difficult to secure future employment and enter school. Furthermore, your insurance rates will increase and it will become near impossible to secure work as a commercial driver. For example, Lyft and Uber examine driver’s license records closely before allowing a person to drive for them.
Suspended License in Orlando
Driving with a suspended license in Orlando is a separate offense from driving without a valid commercial license. When a person is convicted of driving without a valid license, the prosecution does not need to prove that the driver was aware that their license was suspended. However, when a person is convicted of driving with a suspended license, the prosecution will be able to prove that the driver was aware that their commercial license was suspended but continued to drive anyway. This element of proof of knowledge makes all of the difference between these two traffic offenses.
Different Kinds of Commercial Vehicle Licenses
If you wish to drive a commercial vehicle in Orlando, such as a truck or a bus, you must obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL) from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV). There are three different kinds of commercial licenses in Florida and they are:
- Class A. This license is suitable for drivers who wish to operate a truck with a weight of up to 26,001 pounds.
- Class B. This license is appropriate for drivers who wish to operate a truck that weighs up to 26,001 pounds and more.
- Class C. This license is suitable for drivers who wish to operate a vehicle that can transport 15 people or can transport hazardous cargo. These vehicles must weigh no more than 26,001 pounds.
The FLHSMV can offer more information about different kinds of commercial licenses and how to obtain them. After suffering a suspended or revoked commercial license, it can be difficult to get your license reinstated.
Defenses for No Valid Driver’s License
Our criminal defense attorneys have helped countless clients who have been caught driving without a valid commercial license or with a suspended, revoked, or expired license. As soon as you hire one of our attorneys, they will begin work building you a solid defense strategy. Some of the defenses that can be used to battle these charges in Orlando include:
- The police officer at the scene did not have a valid reason or cause to make your traffic stop.
- You were unlawfully detained in custody after your traffic stop.
- You do possess a valid commercial license, you just did not have proof of it at the time of your arrest.
- You were not operating the commercial vehicle on a public road, street, or highway. You didn’t need to obtain a commercial license.
- The evidence held against you is lacking. There is no proof that you did not have another commercial license issued by another U.S. government entity at the time of your traffic stop.
Can I Obtain a Commercial Hardship License?
Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a commercial hardship license in Orlando. Hardship licenses are sometimes granted to drivers who have their driving licenses suspended while driving their personal vehicles. It may be necessary for them to drive to attend work, school, or medical appointments. Hardship licenses, however, cannot be used for leisure purposes.
Commercial drivers cannot obtain a hardship license to enable them to continue to drive a commercial vehicle. Once a license has been suspended or revoked, a driver must serve the period without a commercial license. This can be career-ending for some professional commercial drivers. Therefore all commercial drivers need to challenge any traffic offense charges they face. As soon as a commercial driver is convicted of a traffic offense, their future as a commercial driver becomes hugely uncertain.
Additionally, it is important to be aware that a person can have their commercial license suspended even when they are caught driving their personal vehicle illegally. Any traffic violation in their personal vehicle can threaten their commercial license. If you are facing traffic-related charges in Orlando and wish to maintain your driving privileges, you need to contact The Law Place today.
Get in Touch With a No Valid Driver’s License Attorney at The Law Place Today!
If you are facing charges for driving without a valid driver’s license or with a suspended or revoked commercial license, you need to seek professional legal counsel today. At The Law Place, we can work to defend your case while protecting your rights and liberties. Driving without a valid commercial license is a serious traffic offense that should not be taken lightly. Our experienced legal team will do all they can to help you hold on to your driving privileges and avoid the worst penalties.
To schedule your free legal consultation with an experienced criminal defense lawyer, call us now at (941)-444-4444.