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A No Valid Driver’s License charge does not count towards an alleged offender being classified as a Habitual Traffic Offender (HTO), and many people are issued citations or notices to appear instead of actually being arrested. While No Valid Driver’s License may not seem as serious as driving with a license that was revoked, suspended, or canceled, this a criminal offense and a conviction can carry long-term penalties.
In addition to having the charge reflected on your criminal record, subsequent driving without a valid license violations involve much stiffer penalties. As a misdemeanor offense, a conviction for driving without a valid license is also punishable by possible jail time and significant fines.
If you were arrested, cited, or issued a notice to appear for allegedly driving without a valid driver’s license in the Tampa Bay area, it is in your best interest to seek legal representation as soon as possible. The Morris Law Firm, P.A. represents alleged offenders in Largo, Pinellas Park, Dunedin, Clearwater, and the surrounding areas in Pinellas County.
Melinda Morris is a criminal defense lawyer in St. Petersburg who has experience handling these types of cases on both sides of the aisle as a former prosecutor for the State Attorney’s Office in Pinellas County. Call (727) 388-4736 to schedule a free, confidential consultation that will let our attorneys review your case and help you understand all of your legal options.
Florida Statute § 322.03 explicitly states that a person cannot drive any motor vehicle upon a highway in Florida unless he or she has a valid driver license issued in accordance with state law. A driver’s license is defined under Florida Statute § 322.01(17) as “a certificate that, subject to all other requirements of law, authorizes an individual to drive a motor vehicle and denotes an operator’s license as defined in” Title 49 U.S. Code § 30301. A “motor vehicle operator’s license” is defined under that federal law as “a license issued by a State authorizing an individual to operate a motor vehicle on public streets, roads, or highways.”
Chapter 28.9 of the Florida Standard Jury Instructions further defines a valid driver’s license as meaning a driver’s license recognized by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles which has not expired, been suspended, revoked or canceled. Those terms are defined as follows:
Certain classes of people are not required to obtain a valid driver’s license in Florida. Under Florida Statute § 322.04, the following people are exempt from obtaining a driver license:
In order to convict an alleged offender of the crime of No Valid Driver’s License, the state must prove the following two elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
No Valid Driver’s License is classified as a second-degree misdemeanor offense, which means a conviction is punishable by up to 60 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $500. A subsequent offense is usually charged as Driving While License Suspended, Revoked, Canceled, or Disqualified (commonly abbreviated as DWLS or DWLSR) with knowledge.
A first Driving While License Suspended, Revoked, Canceled, or Disqualified is also a second-degree misdemeanor offense, but the next conviction would be a first-degree misdemeanor and any subsequent conviction is a third-degree felony. Furthermore, DWLS/DWLSR offenses count towards HTO status that can lead to a five-year revocation of driving privileges.
Service Centers in Pinellas County | Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) — Visit this website to learn more about the locations and services offered by FLHSMV offices in Pinellas County. You can find service centers that offer Driver License (DL) and Motor Vehicle (MV) services as well as the Bureau for Administrative Reviews, Florida Highway Patrol Stations, and the Clerk of the Court Office. St. Petersburg has two locations, although road tests and knowledge exams are offered at the following location:
St. Petersburg FLHSMV
1067 62nd Ave. S.
St. Petersburg, FL 33705
Driver License Check | FLHSMV — On this website, you can check to see if your driver’s license is valid. Simply enter your driver’s license number and enter the electronic code on the screen. A parent can also enter the last four digits of his or her child’s Social Security Number and his or her date of birth to view that child’s driving history.
St. Petersburg criminal defense attorney Melinda Morris defends clients throughout Sarasota County, Pasco County, Pinellas County, Hillsborough County, and Manatee County. She can provide a complete evaluation of your case when you call (727) 388-4736 or fill out an online contact form to take advantage of a free initial consultation.
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