There is a popular saying that driving is a privilege, not a right. However, for many people, driving is a necessity of life. Maybe they have small children they need to drop off at school. Perhaps they work somewhere that buses don’t run or work hours when bus service or other public transportation isn’t available. Regardless of the reason why, many people require vehicle transportation for part of their daily life.
For some people, this can lead to the questionable decision to get behind the wheel without a license. Whether you have never had a license or have had your license suspended or revoked, driving could be a big mistake. There are potentially criminal consequences for driving in Florida without a valid license to operate a motor vehicle.
Florida law creates penalties for those who drive without a valid license
Unlike many other traffic citations, a charge of driving without a valid license in Florida is actually a criminal offense, not just a citation. In some cases, law enforcement may arrest you at the scene and take you to the police station.
Other times, you may simply receive a notice to appear in court. In that case, the assumption is the officer involved released you at the time. The charge you face is actually a second-degree misdemeanor. The potential penalties include up to 60 days in jail and a fine of as much as $500.
Not only will you have to deal with those penalties, you will also have a criminal record that could haunt you for years to come. Those potential penalties and the damage to your public record are why many people choose to push back against these charges in court.
Driving without a license could impact your immigration case
Sometimes, the people who get caught up in legal troubles related to driving without a license are new to Florida and the United States. You might think that if you have a license in another country, it is perfectly acceptable to drive on Florida roads. Sadly, this is not the case.
Florida law requires that Florida residents obtain a state license. If you have moved to Florida in the hope of completing the immigration process to the United States, you must obtain a Florida driver’s license to legally operate a motor vehicle. Getting caught driving without a license could lead to a criminal conviction. This, in turn, could impact your ability to successfully go through the immigration process.
There are many consequences to pleading guilty or getting convicted of driving without a license in Florida. You should carefully look at your options before you make any decisions if you have been charged with driving without a license.