If you are pulled over and apprehended for driving without a valid driver’s license in Florida, you may not feel concerned as you may believe that it is not a serious offense. However, there can be lifelong penalties and consequences due to having a criminal record. Florida Statute 322.03 states that it is illegal to operate any type of vehicle on the highways of Florida without a valid driver’s license. There are three key factors that must be true to be charged under this statute, which is as follows:
- You were in physical control of the motor vehicle.
- You were on a public road.
- And, whilst driving, you had no state-issued valid driver’s license permitting you to drive a motor vehicle within Florida, on public roads, streets, and highways.
Here at The Law Place, we have over 75 years of combined experience and are here to help you when it is needed the most. We have a team of dedicated criminal defense attorneys at your disposal. Our phone lines are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, so pick up the phone for a free consultation by calling us at (941) 444-4444.
What Is the Difference Between a Suspended License and a Non-Valid Driver’s License?
The penalties associated with the offense of driving on a suspended driving license and driving without a valid driver’s license are different. If you are apprehended for driving without a valid driver’s license in the State of Florida, the prosecution does not require proof of knowledge, just that you had no valid license when you were pulled over. However, if you are apprehended driving on a suspended license, the State of Florida must prove this, meaning that the prosecution needs proof of knowledge to convict you. If you are convicted for driving with a suspended driver’s license, this makes you habitual a traffic offender, whereas if you are convicted for driving without a valid license, it does not.
If you are feeling uncertain about how to proceed, do not hesitate to pick up the phone and call our Tampa office, and we will offer legal advice during your free consultation.
Potential Penalties for Driving Without a Valid Driver’s License in Tampa
In the State of Florida, if the prosecution charges you for driving without a valid driver’s license, you could potentially face charges of a second-degree misdemeanor, which can result in penalties of 60 days in jail and a monetary fine of $500. However, if you have no priors, you most likely won’t have to serve any jail time, but this is circumstantial. Also, by staying out of trouble for a certain amount of time and paying an extra fee, you may be able to take part in a pre-trial program where eligible. If your application is successful, the charges would be dropped, and from there, you would be able to request for the charges to be removed from your criminal record.
For more information regarding the eligibility of completing a pre-trial, we advise you to seek legal counsel. Our criminal defense attorneys will be able to guide you through the procedure.
Potential Defense Charges for Driving Without a Valid Driver’s License in Tampa, Florida
If you have been apprehended and are facing charges for driving without a valid driver’s license within the State of Florida, Tampa, a criminal defense attorney will make a judgment on how best to represent you.
Your attorney could use one of the following defenses:
- You were driving on private land and not a public road or highway.
- You hold an out of state or foreign valid driver’s license.
- You hold a valid Florida driver’s license but did not have it in your possession.
- Your traffic stop was unlawful and/or was unlawfully obtained.
- The prosecution lacks sufficient evidence or proof of knowledge to charge you.
Exemptions to the Requirement to Possess a Valid Driver’s License in Tampa
Some exceptions are made, where you are permitted to drive a motorized vehicle without a valid driver’s license, for example:
- Equipment such as tractors that are used on farmland.
- To drive a golf cart.
- If a person is aged 18 and above and has in their possession an in date non-commercial driver’s license from the state or country they reside in but is not a Florida resident.
- If a person is aged 16 and above and has an in date non-commercial driver’s license from the state or country they reside in, they operate a vehicle requiring a Class E license even if they are not a resident of the State of Florida.
Your criminal defense attorney’s main objective will be to reduce the charges and, if possible, have the case dropped. Many people in Florida have used legal representation from us to keep their criminal records clean. By hiring us to represent them, they have walked away from second-degree misdemeanor charges. Do not fool yourself into believing you do not require legal representation. If you do not seek representation from a criminal defense attorney, you may end up in jail, with a criminal record that later in life could affect you in many ways, such as not obtaining a mortgage.
Contact The Law Place Today in Tampa, FL.
If you or a loved one has been apprehended for operating a vehicle without a valid license in Florida, you should seek legal representation. Here at The Law Place, we have a team of highly qualified lawyers that are available to seek justice on your behalf. With a combined experience of over 75 years, we have seen it all and will be highly prepared to fight your case in court. Do not let these charges affect you in the long run; seek legal advice today.
Our phone lines are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, making us available when you need us the most. Do not hesitate to pick up the phone and make contact. We offer an initial free consultation where our criminal defense attorneys can guide you on how to proceed. Contact us today at (941) 444-4444.