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Driving With an Expired License in Florida

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Driving With an Expired License in Florida

by | Apr 3, 2023 | Florida Laws, Traffic Ticket

Driving With an Expired License in Florida

Florida law requires you to have a valid driver’s license to drive in the state. That means if your Florida driver’s license has expired, you’re not legally allowed to drive Florida streets, roads, interstates, or highways. If your Florida driver’s license has expired for six months or less, it constitutes a Florida traffic infraction.

Here’s what you need to know about driving with an expired license in Florida under Statute 322.03.

What to Expect if You Get Pulled Over With an Expired License in Florida

Driving with an expired license in Florida is illegal and violates state traffic laws. If law enforcement stops you and you don’t have a valid license, the officer will issue you a ticket.

Then, you will receive a notice in the mail stating when to appear in court. It’s imperative you show up to court on the given date. If you fail to appear, you could face further penalties.

The Consequences of Driving With an Expired License in Florida

If you’re a first-time offender, the arresting officer may give you some leeway, especially if your license only expired a few months ago. In fact, Florida Statute 322.065 states that if your license expires less than four months prior, you’ll face fewer penalties.

However, the standard grace period is six months. Thus, driving with a license that expired within the previous six months is a minor infraction with a $30 fine.

Driving with a license that expired more than six months ago in the state of Florida can lead to a criminal charge. This means that it will go on your driving record and criminal record. The state calls this a criminal traffic violation, which is a second-degree misdemeanor.

The penalties for driving with a license that is more than six months expired are as follows:

  • A maximum fine of $500
  • Up to 60 days of jail time
  • Up to six months probation

The state can also suspend your license, especially if you violate other traffic laws with an expired license or have a history of driving without a valid license. Further, if the state convicts you of driving without a valid license, you’ll likely face increased insurance rates.

Driving with a revoked or suspended license comes with more severe penalties than driving without a valid license. If you receive a DUI and law enforcement discovers you have an expired license, you’ll face even stricter consequences.

How to Avoid the Consequences

Stay on top of your driver’s license renewal to avoid any potential consequences of driving without a valid license. Renewals are typically every eight years. If your license is eligible for renewal, the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will mail you a renewal notice as a reminder no less than 30 days prior to the expiration date.

However, you don’t need to wait for the renewal reminder to arrive in the mail to renew your license. The Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles Department (FLHSMV) states you can renew your driver’s license 18 months before expiration. In addition, ID card holders can renew their IDs 12 months before expiration.

However, you can get a replacement driver’s license or ID card before expiration if the card is lost or stolen or you need to make an update, such as an address or name change.

Most Floridians are eligible to complete the renewal online. Yet, sometimes, the state will require you to renew your license in person. For example, if your current license is not REAL ID-compliant, you cannot renew it online. To renew your license in person, make an appointment with a DMV driver’s license service center.

You need the following documents to renew or get a new license:

  • Birth certificate
  • Social security number and original card
  • Two bills showing your current address

Additionally, drivers with a Class E license that has expired for more than one year will also need to retake the knowledge exam and vision test to renew their license.

The renewal fee is $48.00, which doesn’t include any processing or service fees. The late fee assessed is $15.00.

Potential Defense to Driving Without an Expired License in Florida

There are several defenses your lawyer can use to get the court to reduce or dismiss the charges against you. Let’s look at some of the most common.

Disclaimer: These defenses are not valid for every case. You should consult a lawyer to discuss your case rather than defend yourself using the information mentioned here.

The Street or Highway Isn’t Open to the Public

If you were driving on a roadway that isn’t open to the public, such as a government-personnel-only road, then you may be exempt from needing a valid license.

However, this doesn’t include driving on private property without a valid driver’s license. Driving on personal property with an expired license is still illegal.

You Have a Valid Out-of-State or Foreign License

Even if you’re just visiting Florida, driving with an expired license is still against the law. However, you’ll likely be in the clear if you have a valid out-of-state or foreign license.

But, if you recently moved to Florida, you only have 30 days to get a new license. You must also register your vehicle within ten days of moving to the state. Fortunately, you can convert a valid out-of-state license to a Florida license with minimal effort.

You Had a Valid License But Not With You

The state understands if you didn’t have your license on you at the time of the traffic citation. Bring your license to the court clerk, where the charge is pending, before your court date. The court will dismiss the case, but you’ll need to pay a $5 fee for the dismissal.

The State Can’t Provide Enough Evidence

If the state doesn’t have enough evidence to prove you didn’t have a valid driver’s license at the time of the citation, your lawyer will argue as such. Your attorney will tell you what documents you must show to overcome the state’s lack of evidence.

Exemptions to the Requirement to Possess a Valid Driver’s License

There are some exceptions to the law to consider. The following people do not need a valid Florida driver’s license:

  • A non-Florida residence of at least 18 years of age who has in their possession a valid non-commercial driver’s license from their state or country
  • A non-Florida residence of at least 16 years of age who has in their possession a valid non-commercial driver’s license from their state or country, who operates a vehicle requiring a Class E license
  • Farm machinery operators
  • Golf cart operators
  • U.S. government employees operating non-commercial government-owned vehicles for business purposes

What to Do if You’re Caught With an Expired License

If law enforcement catches you driving with an expired license, you want to hire an attorney immediately. A lawyer can craft a defense to reduce or dismiss your charges. This will protect your driving record and driving privileges. It will also ensure your criminal record remains clean and you don’t face increased insurance rates.

Get Help With Your Ticket for Driving With an Expired License in Florida

Florida Ticket Firm and its experienced traffic ticket lawyers can help you deal with a Florida uniform traffic citation for driving with an expired driver’s license that has expired six months or less.

Call Florida Ticket Firm now at 844-352-3476 or fill out our contact form for a free consultation with a traffic citation attorney familiar with Florida driver’s license law and who knows the best way to address a ticket for driving with a Florida driver’s license that has expired for six months or less. Florida Ticket Firm can help you avoid these traffic tickets.