The State of Florida has strict rules about driving on a suspended license, yet many people only believe those rules apply if they have a Florida driver’s license. In fact, license suspension is shared among all 50 states and if your license is suspended in another state, you should not get behind the wheel of a car in Florida.

Driving Is a Privilege

Like most states, Florida views driving as a privilege for citizens and not a right. If you move to Florida from another state where your license is suspended, Florida requires you to clear up the suspension in that state before they will allow you to obtain a new license in Florida. You have 30 days after you become a resident of the state to obtain a Florida driver’s license. State law says that you become a resident when you enroll your children in a Florida public school, accept employment, register to vote, file for homestead exemption or reside in the state for more than six consecutive months. Even if you are not a resident of Florida, it is illegal to drive on Florida roads on a suspended license from any state.

Penalties for Driving With a Suspended License

Too often, people who move to Florida, or who visit, think that a suspended license from another state will not affect them in Florida. However, if you are driving in Florida, regardless of where your license is issued, it must be valid. The penalties for driving on a suspended license in Florida can be severe.

  • The first offense can result in a second degree misdemeanor conviction and penalties may include a fine of $500 and/or 60 days in jail.
  • A second offense could result in a first degree misdemeanor conviction, which includes a $1,000 fine and/or up to one year in jail.
  • A third offense could result in a felony conviction with penalties of up to a $5,000 fine and/or up to five years in prison.

Knowledge of Suspension

By Florida law, the element of knowledge is satisfied if the driver has been convicted of the crime in the past or if they admit they were aware of the suspension. The knowledge requirement is also met if the driver received a copy of the suspension and there is evidence of this in the records of the suspending state. This may be in the form of a certified return receipt or a copy of a letter notifying the driver that their license was suspended.

Contact the Khonsari Law Group for Legal Counsel

Often, a DUI conviction results in a suspended license. If you or a loved one has been arrested for driving under the influence, it is important to have an experienced attorney on your side. The legal team at the Khonsari Law Group has the necessary experience to defend your rights and will work to achieve the best possible outcome for your case. Call our office at (727) 269-5300 for more information or schedule your free consultation today.