There are several reasons why the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles [DMV] will suspend your driver’s license:
- Failure to Act
- Failure to Appear
- Failure to Comply
- Financial Responsibility (FR Suspension)
- Accumulation of Points
- Bad Acts
Remember, most suspended driver’s license issues can be fixed. You can have a valid license again in most situations.
Florida Suspended Driver’s License Causes
The above list notes the reasons why Florida will suspend your driver’s license. You should be aware of all of them and avoid a suspension whenever possible.
The Reasons You May Have A Suspended Driver’s License
This is not a comprehensive list but will give you a good perspective on how you can lose your driver’s license in Florida and how to prevent it.
Failures To Act
Failures to act involve suspensions that are typically court ordered or statutorily triggered. These include the following:
- Failure (Forgetting) To Pay (a ticket)
- Failure To Appear (in court)
- Failure To Comply (with a court order)
When you get a traffic ticket you have 30 days to do something with it and not receive a penalty. This includes just paying it (I suggest you don’t take this option), electing a driving school, or electing a hearing. If you forget to do any one of these things the DMV will suspend your driver’s license. The reason for the suspended driver’s license will be listed as a Failure To Pay.
Failure To Appear suspensions occur when you do not show up to your court date. This could be for a mandatory hearing on a ticket or a criminal case. If you fail to appear the court can issue a suspension.
Failure To Comply occurs when you fail to comply with an order from the court. For traffic tickets, this usually happens after you have a traffic ticket hearing and you fail to pay or provide required documentary evidence such as proof of registration.
Failure To Pay Financial Responsibilities [FR]
Failure To Pay Financial Responsibilities involve payments outside of the court. When you owe money or are required to pay an obligation to maintain your driving privilege and you fail to make the payment timely – these are called FR Suspensions. The following fall into this category:
- Lack Of Automobile Insurance
- Failure To Pay Child Support
- Financial Liens Placed On Driving Privilege
- (Failure to Pay Ticket)
An FR suspension means a suspension for failure to pay a responsibility. You have to fulfill the financial obligation to fix an FR suspension and receive an FR suspension reinstatement.
A Lack Of Automobile Insurance suspension, unlike most others, is immediate. The Department does not warn you with a letter of an impending suspension. They tell you that is has been suspended after the fact.
Failing To Pay Child Support payments can result in a driver’s license suspension. The Department of Revenue [DOR] initiates this action. You have two options to fix this.
First, pay the balance of the amount past due on your child support payments, or you can work out a payment plan by going to the DOR and paying what you owe or coming up with an amount that will satisfy them.
The other way is to file a Motion to Set Arrears and Release Driver’s License Suspension.
Financial Liens Placed On Driving Privilege come about for a variety of reasons but the most common is the result of you being involved in an accident and being underinsured.
If your insurance (or lack thereof) does not cover the costs of the damages to the other people involved in the accident, then you will probably be sued and have a lien put on your license. You’ll be stuck making a monthly payment until the damages/restitution is paid.
NOTE: Never allow your vehicle to be driven if it is not insured. If a vehicle registered to you is involved in an accident that is under insured or not insured it does not matter that you weren’t the driver. You will be responsible.
Accumulation of Points
A traffic ticket for a moving violation can result in points on your driver’s license if you just pay the ticket. The DMV calculates points and issues a suspension based on the number of points received over a specific period of time.
This is why it is important to not just pay traffic tickets without first electing the Driving School Option or hiring a lawyer. Avoiding a suspended driver’s license is the main reason to hire a lawyer for your tickets.
For more information go to Points Suspension page.
Bad acts refer to criminal acts although this includes repetitive specific civil infractions too. Examples of bad acts the require a driver’s license suspension by law are:
- Murder by use of a motor vehicle (Lifetime)
- Dui-Manslaughter with prior DUI-related conviction (Lifetime)
- Fourth DUI conviction (Lifetime)
- Theft of motor vehicle or motor vehicle parts.
- Felony in the commission of which a motor vehicle was used.
- Failure to render aid in the event of a motor vehicle crash where death or personal injury occurred.
- Perjury, false statement to the Department (DMV)
- Three reckless driving convictions within 12 months
- Lewdness, Prostitution involving motor vehicle.
- False Insurance Claims
Another way of receiving a suspension of your driving privilege is to commit three “driving while license suspended” infractions within a 5-year period. This results in a 5-year suspension and designation as a Habitual Traffic Offender.
Learn more about Driving While License Suspended.
Learn more about Habitual Traffic Offender.
How To Check if Your License is Suspended
Knowing that there are many ways that your license can be suspended by the State and that driving while license suspended can be a crime it becomes imperative to make sure your license is not suspended.
Here is how to check if your license is suspended.
How We Try To Get Your Driver’s License Back
There are various ways to reinstate a suspended driver’s license and make it valid again before the end of the suspension period. In order to be able to tell you what can be done (or not done) there are a few things we will need to evaluate your situation.
First, stop driving while license suspended. I know it is hard to survive without being able to drive but the problem with continued driving is that your current situation will be much worse if caught driving without a valid license. A new charge can throw everything we have done or will do out the window and put us both back to square one. This only exacerbates your problems.
Documents We Need From You
In order to determine if I can help you I will need the following documents:
- (1) The suspension letter you received (if you still have it or ever received it);
- (2) Copy of an official and complete driving record.
We understand that sometimes people misplace the suspension letter or don’t ever receive one. We also know that you may no longer have a valid driver’s license. Don’t worry, the main document we need is your driver’s license record.
The Suspension Letter
The Department will send out a letter titled
Order indicating when your license was or will be suspended. The letter will indicate why the suspension is going into effect and when. Upon receipt of any suspension letter you should seek professional advice. If you still have this letter, I need a copy of it.
The Driving Record
This is the most important document. It can be obtained at a local Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles office [DMV]. It has to be a full complete history of your driving record. Do not obtain a 3-year or 7-year unless it covers your entire time driving.
The best place to get your driving record is:
- Directly from a local DMV Office.
- Downloaded from the DMV’s website.
This must be a FULL driving record – do not get only a 3 or 7-year record. Send a legible copy of it to us by fax or scanning (to PDF) and emailing it.
The DMV Website lists several options to obtain your driving record online.
Application of the Law and Rules
When you have these documents you can scan (to PDF) and email them to me or fax them to me ((407-841-9090). Please do not take pictures and send them to me. Upon receipt of the driving record and the Department letter (if available) a determination of what can be done to reinstate your driver’s license will be made. Please remember to send your contact information.
The results will be conveyed to you along with a fair estimate of the legal fee. Factors that will be considered include the law, the procedural rules, local rules and practices, and experience. Once you receive this estimation it will be up to you on whether you would like this office to endeavour to get your license back.
What Happens If You Are Caught Driving
Unknowingly Driving While License is Suspended
The first thing to understand is that a citation for driving with a suspended driver’s license comes in two forms. The first is driving without knowledge of the suspension. This is a civil traffic infraction and is presented like an ordinary ticket. However, you need to be very careful on how you handle this ticket. Do not just pay it. Contact a traffic lawyer immediately (it is a very inexpensive fix typically).
Knowingly Driving While License is Suspended
The second is driving with knowledge your license is suspended. This is a criminal infraction. When this ticket is issued to you the police officer has the option of taking you to jail or giving you a notice to appear (which is usually the ticket itself). You should seek professional legal help whenever you are issued this type of criminal citation.
Go to my driving while license suspended page for more information.
Suspended License and the HTO 5-Year Suspension
Both types are serious because both can lead to you being designated as a Habitual Traffic Offender. I would suggest that the civil infraction is more insidious than the criminal charge because it is cloaked in benign attire that leads most people into underestimating the damage it can cause.
Repetitive Stops for Driving While License Suspended
If you get caught driving while license suspended after you have received a DWLS ticket you can expect a trip to the jail. Additionally, your bond may be higher. Moreover, the Driving With A Suspended License offense is a cumulative charge. This means that each additional criminal ticket you receive can be charged at a higher level all the way up to a third degree felony.
Learn more about the traffic ticket and crime of Driving While License Suspended in Florida.