Driving on a Suspended License in Florida: What You Need to Know
Some serious infractions, like a driving under the influence (DUI) conviction or being found at fault in a serious accident will cause you to lose your Florida drivers license. You can also lose driving privileges if you fail to make child support payments, fail a vision test, or fail to comply with a court order to attend traffic school.
What Happens If You Drive with a Suspended License in Florida
During the time your license is suspended, you should refrain from driving under any circumstances. If you are caught driving with a suspended license by police, the penalty is a 60-day jail sentence and a fine of $500 for the first offense.
A second offense could put you in jail for one year. A third offense may result in a felony charge, five years in prison, and a $5,000 fine. If all three offenses happen within a five-year time period, the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles will label you as a Habitual Traffic Offender (HTO), which carries a five-year license suspension.
How to Get Your Florida Drivers License Reinstated
The requirements for reinstatement of a suspended license in Florida vary. All reinstatement requirements applicable to your situation will be listed in detail on your suspension notice. You can also contact the Florida DMV to learn about the steps you must take to get your Florida drivers license reinstated. DMV staff can talk with you about your situation over the phone or in person.
Before you can get your drivers license back, you’ll need to pay any outstanding fines. You may also be required to complete any or all of the following:
- Drug and alcohol course
- Jail time
- Probationary period
- DMV-approved traffic school
- Wait out the suspension period
- Court-ordered community service
If you have a suspended license, you must complete an Advanced Driver Improvement (ADI) course.
How to Get a Florida Hardship License
While you have a suspended license, you may be eligible for a Florida Hardship License. With this restricted license, you’ll be able to drive for school-related activities or for business. If you were convicted of a first-offense DUI or have an otherwise clean driving record, the Florida Hardship License may be a viable option for you while you wait out your suspension period.
To find out if you are eligible to apply for a hardship license, contact the regional Bureau of Administrative Reviews. To get a hardship license in Florida, you’ll need to show proof that you’ve enrolled in a 12-hour ADI course to the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV). While many driving courses are four to eight hours in length, the requirement to get your suspended license reinstated includes successful completion of a 12-hour ADI course. You can take the course online, in the comfort of your home.
While you may still have to wait out your suspension period, following the steps outlined by the judge and the DMV will help you get back on the road as quickly as possible.