What Happens If You Drive Without a Valid License in Florida

Florida is known for being a pretty freewheeling state, but it takes driver license laws seriously. Section 322.03 of the Florida State Statutes lays out the regulations surrounding driver licenses and the penalties for not following them.

If you take the risk of driving without a valid Florida driver license here’s what could happen.

Driving in Florida Without a License

Unlicensed drivers have become an increasing problem in the state of Florida, and law enforcement has been cracking down. Driving without a license is considered a criminal offense that comes with stiff consequences.

Driving without a license will have consequences

If you get stopped and don’t have a license here’s what you can expect:

  • The law enforcement officer will give you a ticket. But it’s not any old ticket. It’s considered a criminal charge.
  • You’ll be charged with a second degree misdemeanor.
  • Keep in mind that if this happens you are technically arrested and released at the scene. You’ll receive a notice to appear at court. If you don’t show up you could be in even more trouble.
  • If you’re found guilty you could receive up to 60 days in jail and up to $500 in fines.

Anyone who’s caught driving without a license will also be issued an ID number. So far around 214,000 of these ID numbers have been issued.

Driving without a license just isn’t worth the risk, especially when Aceable online courses make it easy to study and pass your tests. Ease your stress by taking our Florida permit courses .

Driving With a Revoked or Suspended Florida License

If your license has been suspended or revoked, Florida law enforcement doesn’t want you out on the road. If you’re stopped for a traffic violation you’ll be charged with having “no valid” license. Do it again and the charge will become "driving while license suspended or revoked" (DWLSR).

  • The first DWLSR offense is charged as a second degree misdemeanor.
  • If it happens again the charge will be bumped up to a first degree misdemeanor.
  • A third DWLSR is considered a felony of the third degree.
  • Drivers that get three DWLSR charges within three years will receive a 5-year revocation of their license and the label “habitual traffic offender” (HTO). Driving during this period is considered a third degree felony.
  • Anyone who drives with a suspended, canceled or revoked license and causes an injury will be charged with a third degree felony.
  • On top of all that, the arresting officer will most likely impound the vehicle. The registered owner or lessor will have to pay hefty fees to get the car back. If the vehicle isn’t picked up within 35 days a lien will be put on the vehicle.

 Think about it and make the smart, legal, and obvious choice.

If you’re a repeat DWLSR offender there’s a chance you’ll get jail time that can range anywhere from 60 days to five years. Driving with a permanently revoked license is a big-time offense in Florida. The charge of driving with a permanently revoked license can come with fines of up to $5,000.

Driving With an Expired Florida License

Driving with an expired Florida license is less serious than cruising around with a suspended license, but you won’t get off scot-free. The state does give drivers a little leeway by allowing up to six months after the expiration before it’s considered a violation. If you’re caught driving during the grace period it’s considered an infraction that comes with a $30 fine.

If you’ve let your license go past the 6-month expiration mark it’s considered a criminal violation and you could face:

  • Up to 60 days in county jail
  • Fines up to $500
  • Up to 6 months probation

Don't let it become a criminal violation

Driving With an Out-of-State License

Non-residents that are visiting one of Florida’s many beaches or the happiest place on Earth can drive around with their valid out-of-state license no problem. But if you’ve moved to Florida, you’ve got to get a Florida driver license within 30 days. You also have to register your vehicle within 10 days of moving to Florida.

Luckily you can convert a valid out-of-state license to a Florida license without taking any tests. But first you’ll have to provide:

  • Identification
  • Proof of registration
  • Out-of-state title
  • Verification of a physical inspection
  • Proof of insurance from a company that’s licensed in Florida

Driving Without Your Valid Florida Driver’s License

Did you walk right out of the house and forget your license? The state of Florida understands that people can be forgetful sometimes. If you had a valid license when you were stopped, don’t panic.

But if you do forget it's no big deal.

Before your court appearance, bring your driver’s license to the clerk of the court where the charge is pending. Also, be prepared to pay the $5 fee for dismissing the case.

Krista Doyle