No Valid Driver’s License Charge in Florida
Under Florida State law, “No Valid Driver’s License” is a criminal charge that is based upon a person operating a motor vehicle on a public highway without being licensed by an appropriate State or government authority. The penalties for this offense may include jail and, more often than not, the creation of a permanent criminal record.
Section 322.03-1 of the Florida Statutes defines the charge of “No Valid Driver’s License” as a criminal act for a person driving any “motor vehicle” on a State highway unless that person has a valid driver’s license issued by an appropriate State or government authority.
“Driving” is defined as a person operating said vehicle or being in physical control of that vehicle. A “motor vehicle” is defined as any vehicle which is self-propelled but not any vehicle moved solely by human power, such as a motorized wheelchair or motorized bicycle. A “Street” or “highway” simply means the entire width between the boundary lines of every way or place which is open to the public.
What is a “Driver’s License?”
A valid driver’s license is defined as a certificate that, subject to all other requirements of law, authorizes a person to drive a motor vehicle and denotes an operator’s license. An “operator’s license” is a license issued by a State authorizing an individual to operate a motor vehicle on public streets, roads, or highways. Thus the requirement said driver’s license be issued by a State or government authority.
Under Florida State law, a charge of “No Valid Driver’s License” is classified as a second-degree misdemeanor and carries with it penalties of up to 60 days in jail as well as a $500 fine. Although the majority of these cases will not result in a jail sentence, the principal consequence of a “No Valid Driver’s License” conviction is that it will create a permanent criminal record which can have wide-ranging negative implications for you socially and economically.
What is the Difference Between “No Valid Driver’s License” and a Suspended License?
A “No Valid Driver’s License” charge differs from a charge of “Driving with a Suspended or Revoked License” in terms of the elements of the offense and the consequences of the offense. To prove a “No Valid Driver’s License” charge, the State, simply, must prove that the defendant was driving and there was no valid license issued, which is often proved or disproved through a Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) record. This charge, furthermore, does not count towards classifying an individual as a “Habitual Traffic Offender” which can result in losing a driver’s license if sufficient convictions are accumulated over a five year period.
There are several possible defenses that can be used to combat a charge of “No Valid Driver’s License” including, but not limited to:
- Presented with an unlawful traffic stop;
- Having a valid driver’s license;
- Possessing a foreign driver’s license;
- Defendant not driving on a “street,” “highway,” or other place open to the general public;
- Lack of evidence that the defendant did not have a license issued by another State or government authority.
Why You Should Contact an Attorney
There are many nuances of a potential case of “No Valid Driver’s License” to consider before moving forward. My experience as an Assistant State Attorney has exposed me to numerous types of these cases and their commonality lies in their differences. Given the numerous defenses available to contest these charges, an attorney is a vital asset for avoiding a conviction.
If you have question about your “No Valid Driver’s License” case please call my office at 407-415-9626 or email me at Jeremiah@JeremiahDAllen.com.