Drivers license suspension is a common issue that many Floridians face. It can happen for various reasons, such as traffic violations, DUI charges, or even failure to pay child support. However, driver's license suspension can lead to significant consequences that can affect your daily life. In this article, we will cover everything you need to know about driver's license suspension in Florida, including the legal requirements, consequences, and ways to avoid it.
Reasons for Driver’s License Suspension in Florida
There are several reasons why your driver's license may be suspended in Florida. The following are some of the most prevalent reasons:
Accumulating too many points on your license due to traffic violations
Florida operates on a point system where drivers accumulate points for traffic violations. The severity of the violation corresponds to the number of points it carries. If you accumulate too many points within a specific period, your driver's license may be suspended. Here are some examples of point values for common violations:
- Speeding: 3-6 points
- Running a red light: 4 points
- Reckless driving: 4 points
- Passing a stopped school bus: 4 points
- Leaving the scene of an accident: 6 points
- DUI: 6 points
If you accumulate 12 points within 12 months, your license may be suspended for 30 days. If you accumulate 18 points within 18 months, your license may be suspended for three months. And if you accumulate 24 points within 36 months, your license may be suspended for a year.
Driving under the influence (DUI) is a serious offense in Florida that carries severe penalties. If you are convicted of DUI, your driver's license will be suspended for a minimum of six months for a first offense. Subsequent offenses carry longer suspension periods. In addition to the suspension, you may also face fines, jail time, and community service.
Failure to pay traffic fines or appear in court
If you receive a traffic citation and fail to pay the fine or appear in court, your driver's license may be suspended. This can happen even if the traffic violation was minor. To avoid suspension, be sure to pay your fines on time or appear in court if required.
Being deemed a habitual traffic offender
If you accumulate a certain number of traffic convictions within a specific period, you may be deemed a habitual traffic offender (HTO) by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV). If you are designated as an HTO, your driver's license will be suspended for five years. To avoid being labeled an HTO, it's important to practice safe driving habits and avoid accumulating too many traffic convictions.
Driving without car insurance
In Florida, drivers are required to carry car insurance with certain minimum coverage levels. If you are caught driving without insurance, your driver's license may be suspended until you can provide proof of insurance. It's important to maintain proper insurance coverage to avoid suspension.
Being involved in a hit-and-run accident
If you are involved in a hit-and-run accident, your driver's license may be suspended. Hit-and-run accidents are taken very seriously in Florida, and leaving the scene of an accident can result in criminal charges as well as license suspension.
Failing to pay child support
If you fail to pay court-ordered child support, your driver's license may be suspended. This is part of Florida's efforts to enforce child support obligations and ensure that children receive the financial support they need.
Consequences of Driving with a Suspended License in Florida
Driving with a suspended license in Florida can lead to severe consequences that can have a long-lasting impact on your life. Let's take a closer look at some of the potential consequences:
- A Criminal Record: When you are caught driving with a suspended license, you may be charged with a criminal offense. This will result in a criminal record, which can make it challenging to obtain employment, housing, or loans in the future.
- Fines and Court Costs: If you are caught driving with a suspended license in Florida, you will likely be required to pay fines and court costs. The amount of these fines can vary, but they can be substantial, particularly if you have prior convictions.
- Jail Time: Depending on the circumstances of your case, you may be sentenced to jail time for driving with a suspended license. In some cases, this may be mandatory, particularly if you have multiple prior convictions.
- Extension of the Suspension Period: If you are caught driving with a suspended license, your suspension period may be extended. This means that you will not be able to obtain a valid driver's license until the extended period has ended.
- Possible Impoundment of Your Vehicle: In some cases, your vehicle may be impounded if you are caught driving with a suspended license. This can be particularly problematic if you rely on your vehicle for transportation to work or other essential activities.
It's essential to note that the consequences of driving with a suspended license in Florida can be severe, and they can vary depending on the specifics of your case. It's crucial to take these consequences seriously and do everything you can to avoid driving with a suspended license.
How to Reinstate Your License After Suspension in Florida
If your driver's license has been suspended in Florida, you will need to take specific steps to get it reinstated. The exact requirements for reinstatement will depend on the reason for your suspension, but here are some general steps you can take:
- Pay any outstanding fines or fees related to your suspension
If your driver's license was suspended due to unpaid traffic fines or fees, you will need to pay those in full before you can apply for reinstatement. You can pay these fines and fees online, by phone, or by mail. It's important to note that if you have any outstanding court fees or fines, you may need to appear in court to resolve those issues.
- Complete any required courses or classes
Depending on the reason for your suspension, you may be required to complete certain courses or classes. For example, if your license was suspended due to a DUI conviction, you may need to complete a DUI course. If you were involved in a traffic accident, you may be required to take a defensive driving course. Typically, these courses can be accomplished either online or in-person.
- Provide proof of car insurance
Before your license can be reinstated, you will need to provide proof of car insurance to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV). This proof of insurance must meet the state's minimum requirements, which include liability coverage of at least $10,000 for property damage and $10,000 for personal injury.
- Pass a written and/or driving test
Depending on the reason for your suspension, you may be required to pass a written and/or driving test. For example, if your license was suspended due to a DUI conviction, you may need to pass a written and driving test in order to have your license reinstated.
- Attend a hearing, if required
In some cases, you may be required to attend a hearing before your license can be reinstated. For example, if your license was suspended due to being deemed a habitual traffic offender, you may need to attend a hearing before the DHSMV to have your license reinstated.
It's important to note that the requirements for reinstatement may vary depending on the reason for your suspension. To find out exactly what steps you need to take to get your license reinstated, you can contact the DHSMV or check their website for more information.
The Importance of Hiring an Attorney for Driver's License Suspension Cases
When facing a driver's license suspension in Florida, one of the most important decisions you can make is to hire an experienced attorney. The consequences of a license suspension can be far-reaching, affecting your ability to get to work, take care of your family, and participate in everyday activities. Therefore, it's crucial to have a knowledgeable legal professional on your side who can navigate the complexities of the legal system and help you understand your rights and options. In this section, we will discuss the importance of hiring an attorney for driver's license suspension cases.
Legal Assistance for Suspension Hearings
One of the most important reasons to hire an attorney for a driver's license suspension case is to receive legal assistance during suspension hearings. These hearings are conducted by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) and can be complex and overwhelming without proper legal representation. An attorney can help prepare you for the hearing, represent you during the hearing, and present evidence and arguments in your favor. They can also cross-examine witnesses, object to evidence, and file motions and appeals when necessary.
Experienced Help in Reinstating Your License
An experienced attorney can also assist you in reinstating your license after a suspension. Your attorney can potentially negotiate based on the specifics of your situation, which can increase the likelihood of having your license reinstated sooner. They can also help you navigate the complex web of paperwork and procedures involved in reinstating a suspended license.
Explaining Your Rights and Options
Perhaps most importantly, an attorney can explain your rights and options in a driver's license suspension case. Many people who are facing a license suspension are unsure of their legal rights and what options are available to them. An attorney can review the details of your case and explain the potential consequences, as well as the steps you can take to protect your rights and minimize the impact of a suspension on your life. They can also help you understand the legal system, the hearing process, and the potential outcomes of your case.
In conclusion, if you are facing a driver's license suspension in Florida, it's essential to seek legal assistance from an experienced attorney. They can provide legal representation during suspension hearings, help you navigate the process of reinstating your license, and explain your rights and options.
At Browning Law, our attorneys have years of experience representing clients in driver's license suspension cases and are committed to helping you achieve the best possible outcome for your situation. Get in touch with us now to set up a consultation and discover how we can help.
Driver's license suspension is a serious matter that can affect your daily life. It is essential to understand the legal requirements, consequences, and ways to avoid it. By following the tips and seeking legal help when necessary, you can prevent driver's license suspension and maintain your driving privileges. If you are facing driver's license suspension or have any questions, don't hesitate to contact a legal professional for assistance.
What happens if I don't pay my traffic tickets in Florida?
If you don't pay your traffic tickets in Florida, your driver's license may be suspended, and you may face additional fees and fines. It is crucial to address traffic violations promptly to avoid further consequences.
Can I apply for a hardship license if my driver's license is suspended in Florida?
Yes, you can apply for a hardship license if your driver's license is suspended in Florida. A hardship license allows you to drive to and from work, school, and medical appointments, but it has certain limitations and requirements.
How can I check the status of my driver's license in Florida?
You can check the status of your driver's license in Florida by visiting the official website of the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles or contacting their customer service center.
What happens if I get caught driving with a suspended license in Florida?
If you get caught driving with a suspended license in Florida, you may face additional penalties, fines, and criminal charges. It is essential to seek legal help and avoid driving with a suspended license.