Driving without a Valid License

In Florida, ‘No Valid Driver’s License’ is a criminal charge that is based on a person operating a motor vehicle on a public highway without being licensed by an appropriate governmental authority.  Penalties for this offense may include jail and, more often, the creation of a permanent criminal record. It is classified as a second degree misdemeanor, with penalties of up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine. Although the majority of cases will not result in a jail sentence, the principal consequence of a No Valid License conviction is that it will create a permanent criminal record.

No Valid Driver’s License 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.

First, a No Valid Driver’s License charge does not require proof of a knowledge element. The State needs only to show that the defendant was driving and that there was no valid license issued. Prosecutors will usually attempt to prove license status at trial through the introduction of a Department of Motor Vehicles certified driving record, although this does not definitively establish the absence of a license.

The charge is further distinguished from Suspended / Revoked License in that a conviction does not count towards classifying the accused as a Habitual Traffic Offender (HTO). Where a person drives on a suspended or revoked license and accumulates three or more such convictions within a five-year period, he or she will lose their driving privileges for five years. This harsh consequence does not apply No Valid Driver’s License.

A conviction for No Valid Driver’s License will nonetheless create criminal record. Even for a seemingly innocuous traffic offense, this can have a negative impact on employment applications, college applications, insurance premiums, and other aspects of daily life. 

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