Your Driving Privilege
Driving a motor vehicle in Florida is
a privilege you earn. You cannot get a license in Florida under
the following conditions:
- If your license is suspended or revoked in any
- If you are addicted to drugs or alcohol.
- If you cannot drive safely because of mental
or physical problems. Deafness alone will not prevent a person
from being issued a driver license.
- If you are under the legal age for licensing
(15 for Learners license, 16 for Class D or E).
Every driver who gets a license must
drive safely to keep it. If you break the traffic laws or become
an unsafe driver, your license can be taken away. It can be suspended,
revoked, or canceled.
When your license is suspended, it is temporarily
Your license can be suspended if you:
- Make a fraudulent driver license application.
- Are not able to drive safely.
- Allow your license to be used for a purpose
that is against the law.
- Are convicted in a traffic court and the court
orders that your license be suspended.
- Refuse to take a test to show if you are driving
while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Misuse a restricted license.
- Earn a certain number of points for traffic
offenses on the point system.
- Break a traffic law and fail to pay your fine
or appear in court as directed.
If your license is revoked, it is taken
away for a period of 6 months to life. In some cases, you may apply
for a new license after a period of time.
By law, your license must be revoked
if you are found guilty of, or department records show:
- Driving while under the influence of alcohol,
drugs or other controlled substances.
- A felony in which a motor vehicle is used.
- Not stopping to give help when the vehicle you
are driving is involved in a crash causing death or personal injury.
- Lying about the ownership or operation of motor
- Three cases of reckless driving within one year.
Forfeiting bail and not going to court to avoid being convicted
of reckless driving counts the same as a conviction.
- An immoral act in which a motor vehicle was
- Three major offenses or 15 offenses for which
you receive points within a 5-year period.
- A felony for drug possession.
- Vision worse than the standard minimum requirements.
A court may also order that your license
be revoked for certain other traffic offenses.
Your license will be revoked for at
least three years if you kill someone because of reckless driving.
If your license was issued because of
a mistake or fraud (giving false information or identification),
it will be canceled.
|Leaving the scene of an accident
resulting in property damage of more than $50
|Unlawful speed resulting
in an accident
|Any moving violation resulting
in an accident
|Passing a stopped school
|Driving During Restricted
|Unlawful speed - 16 MPH or
more over lawful or posted speed
|Unlawful speed - 15 MPH or
less over lawful or posted speed
|(Fines are doubled
when infractions occur within a school zone or construction
zone, with possible civil penalties up to $1,000 and can be
required to complete driving school course.)
|All other moving violations
(including parking on highway outside the limits of municipalities)
|Improper equipment or vehicle
in an unsafe condition
|(Operator corrects defects
within 10 days from the date the traffic citation was issued)
|Violation of curfew
|Open Container as an operator
|Child Restraint Violation
receives the same number of points listed if the conviction
occurs out-of-state or in a federal court.
In computing points and suspensions,
the offense dates of all convictions are used.
|12 points within a 12-month
|18 points within an 18-month
including points which cause suspension under line 1 above
|24 points within a 36-month
including points which cause suspension under line 2 above
Three points will be deducted from the
driver record of any person whose driving privilege has been suspended
only once under the point system and has been reinstated, if such
person has complied with all other requirements.
NOTE:Serving a point suspension does
not prohibit these convictions from being used to accumulate additional
suspensions or revocations.
Any driver under the age of 18 who
accumulates six or more points within a 12 month period shall be
automatically restricted for one year to driving for business purposes
ONLY. If additional points are accumulated the restriction will
be extended for 90 days for every additional point received.
Reinstatement & Administrative Hearings
If your driving privilege is suspended
or revoked you may be eligible to apply for a hardship license or
reinstatement. For eligibility information contact the local Bureau
of Administrative Reviews Offices, Driver License Office or Bureau
of Customer Services in Tallahassee.
You can be charged with DUI if you are
found to be driving or in actual physical control of a motor vehicle
in the state while under the influence of alcoholic beverages or
controlled substances. Controlled substances include narcotic drugs,
barbituates, model glue and other stimulants - whether taken by
swallowing, by sniffing, by smoking, by injection or by other means.
You will be administratively suspended if you have a breath or or
blood alcohol level of .08 or above or refuse to submit to a chemical
test. This suspension is a mandatory period without a license. If
you wish to appeal this suspension, you must apply for a formal
or informal review hearing at the appropriate Division of Driver
Licenses, Bureau of Administrative Reviews Office within 10 days
of your date of arrest. This suspension is in addition to any penalties
directed by the court. A DUI conviction will remain on your driving
record for 75 years.
Some effects of drug and alcohol consumption
are impaired judgement, slow reaction, poor vision, and concentration.
A person's judgement is the first thing affected after drinking
an alcoholic beverage.
Any driver under 21 years of age who
is stopped by law enforcement and has a breath or blood alcohol
level of .02 or higher will automatically have their driving privilege
suspended for 6 months. This is an administrative suspension and
does not reflect as a DUI on the driver's record. If the driver
refuses to take a test, their driving privilege is automatically
suspended for one year.
Penalties for DUI
Disclaimer: This summary was prepared by
the Department of Highway Safety
for DUI (including previous DWI and DUBAL convictions)
or more conviction
with BAL .08 or higher or minor in vehicle, not less than
$500 or more than $1000
with BAL .08 or higher or minor in vehicle, not less than
$1000 or more than $2000
with BAL .08 or higher or minor in vehicle, not less than
$2000 or more than $5000
|Not Less than
than 1 year.
|Not more than
with BAL .08 or higher or minor in vehicle, not more than
|Not more than
9 months; 2nd conviction within 5 years, 10 days in jail,
48 hours of confinement must be consecutive
||Not more than 12 months;
3rd conviction within 10 years, mandatory 30 days, 48 hours
must be consecutive
||Not more than
||Minimum 180 days
||minimum 180 days; 2nd conviction
within 5 years, 5 year revocation
||minimum 180 days; 3rd conviction
within 10 years, 10 year revocation
|Evaluation conducted to determine
need for treatment
Drinking and Driving
Alcohol is involved in about 40 pecent
of the traffic crashes in which someone is killed. If you drink alcohol,
even a little, your chances of being in an accident are much greater
than if you did not drink any alcohol.
No one can drink alcohol and drive safely,
even if you have been driving for many years. New drivers are more
affected by alcohol than experienced drivers because they are still
learning to drive.
Because drinking alcohol and then driving
is so dangerous, the penalties are very tough. People who drive after
drinking risk heavy fines, higher insurance rates, loss of license
and even jail sentences.
The Dangers of Drinking and Driving
Alcohol reduces all of the important
skills necessary to drive safely, such as judgement, reaction, vision
and concentration. Alcohol is absorbed into the lining of the stomach
and then passes directly into the bloodstream. It reaches your brain
in 20 to 40 minutes. Alcohol affects those areas of your brain that
control judgement and skill. This is one reason why drinking alcohol
is so dangerous; it affects your judgement. Good judgement is important
to driving but in this case, judgement helps you to know when to
stop drinking. In a way, it's like alcohol puts good judgement on
hold. You do not know when you have had too much to drink until
it is too late. It is a little like sunburn, by the time you feel
it, it is already too late.
Alcohol slows your reflexes and reaction
time, reduces your ability to see clearly and makes you less alert.
As the amount of alcohol in your body increases, your judgement
worsens and your skills decrease. You will have trouble judging
distances, speeds and the movement of other vehicles. You will also
have trouble controlling your vehicle.
If You Drink, When Can You Drive?
The best advice is if you drink alcohol,
do not drive. Even one drink of alchol can affect your driving.
With two or more drinks in your bloodstream you are impaired
and could be arrested.
It takes about an hour for your body
to get rid of each drink. Time is the only thing that will sober
There are ways of dealing with social
situations. Arrange to go with two or more persons and agree which
one of you will not drink alcohol. You can rotate among the group
being a "designated driver". You can use public transporation or
use a cab, if available.
Implied Consent Law
You will be asked to take a blood, a
urine or a breath test if a law enforcement officer thinks you are
under the influence of alcoholic beverages or drugs while driving.
By law, if you drive in Florida, you have agreed to take these tests
if asked. If you refuse to take the tests when asked, your license
will be suspended for one year. If you are stopped again and refuse
the tests again, your license will be suspended for eighteen months.
In DUI cases involving death or serious
injury, you can be required to take the blood test without your
consent. The blood must be withdrawn by a doctor, nurse or other
If you are unconscious and cannot refuse
the blood test, blood may be withdrawn. The results of the test
may be used as evidence, even if you object after becoming conscious.
Other Drugs and Driving
Besides alcohol, there are many other
drugs that can affect a person's ability to drive safely. These drugs
can have effect like those of alcohol, or even worse. This is true
of many prescription drugs and even many of the the drugs you can
buy without a prescription. Drugs taken for headaches, colds, hay
fever or tother allergies or those to calm nerves can make a person
drowsy and affect their driving. Pep pills, "uppers" and diet they
can cause a person to be nervous, dizzy, unable to concentrate and
they can affect your vision. Other prescription drugs can affect your
reflexes, judgement, vision and alertness in ways similar to alcohol.
If your driving, check the label before
you take a drug for warnings about its effect. If you are not sure
it is safe to take the drug and drive, ask your doctor or pharmacist
about any side effects.
Never drink alcohol while you are taking
other drugs. These drugs could mutltiply the effects of alcohol or
have additional effects of their own. These effects not only reduce
your ability to be a safe driver but could cause serious health problems,
Illegal drugs are not good for your
health and effect your ability to be a safe driver. For example, studies
have shown that people who use marijuana make more mistakes, have
more trouble adjusting to glare and get arrested for traffic violations
more than other drivers.
Emotions can have a great effect on
you driving safely. You may not be able to drive well if you are
overly worried, excited, afraid, angry or depressed.
- If you are angry of excited, give yourself time
to cool off. If necessary take a short walk, but stay off the
road until you have calmed down.
- If you are worried, down or upset about something,
try to keep your mind on driving. Some find listening to the radio
- If you are impatient, give yourself extra time
for your driving trip. Leave a few minutes early. If you have
plenty of time, you may not tend to speed or do other thing that
can get you a traffic ticket or cause a crash. Don't be impatient
to wait for a train to cross in front of you. Driving around lowered
gates or trying to beat the train can be fatal.
Other Serious Violations of
the License Law
You can be put in jail or made to pay
a fine for the following offenses:
- Changing your license in any way. Any changes
must be made by the Department.
- Unlawful use of your license, including allowing
your license to be used by another person.
- Making a fraudulent application for a driver
license or identification card.
- Having more than one Florida driver license.
- Allowing an unlicensed person to use your car,
hiring an unlicensed chauffeur, or renting a motor vehicle to
someone without a license.
- Giving false statements to an officer or in
- Knowingly giving false information in crash
- Failing to make crash reports.
Florida Motor Vehicle
In Florida there are two motor vehicle
insurance laws. They are the Financial Responsibility Law and the No-Fault law. It is important that you understand
these laws because if you do not have the proper insurance, you
can lose your driver license and tag(s) and have to pay large fees
to get them back.
The Financial Responsibility
The reason for the Financial Responsibility
Law is to require owners and operators of motor vehicles to be financially
responsible for damages and/or injuries they may cause to others
when a motor vehicle crash happens.
This law requires any person to have
liability insurance at the time of the following:
- A crash where you are at fault.
- A suspension for too many points against your
- A citation for DUI, which results in a revocation.
- A revocation for Habitual Traffic Offender.
- A revocation for any serious offense where this
department is required to revoke your license.
You must have the following minimum
- $10,000 Bodily Injury Liability (BIL)
- $20,000 Bodily Injury Liability to two or more
- $10,000 Property Damage Liability (PDL), or
- $30,000 Combined single limits.
If involved in any of the above violations
and you do not have insurance to comply with the financial responsibility
law, your driver license and/or tags will be suspended for up to
three years. You will have to pay a $15 reinstatement fee
and show the department certified proof of full liability insurance
on Form SR-22 for three years to get your driving privilege back.
In addition, if you are the driver or
the owner of a vehicle which is in a crash that is your fault, this
department can require you to pay for the damages before your driving
privilege is reinstated.
Under this law, to protect yourself
and others, you should have liability insurance on any motor vehicle
you own or drive, including motorcycles.
The No-Fault Law
The Florida No-Fault Law requires anyone
who owns or has registered a motor vehicle with four or more wheels
(excluding taxis and limousines), that has been in the state for
at least 90 days or non-consecutive days during the past 365 days
to purchase a policy delivered or issued for delivery in this state.
The minimum coverages are:
- $10,000 of Personal Injury Protection (PIP)
- $10,000 of Property Damage Liability (PDL)
You cannot buy a tag and registration
for a car, or other four wheel vehicle, without having coverage
issued in this state. Once you have this insurance, anytime you
renew it, fail to renew it, or cancel it, the insurance company
must notify this department. The department will then notify you
for an explanation. If you then fail to provide proof of insurance,
your driver license and tag(s) will be suspended for up to three
You must maintain insurance coverage
during the entire time that the car is registered in your name.
If the car is in storage or not in working order or if you wish
to cancel the insurance for any reason, you must turn in the tag
and registration at any Driver License Office or mail
to the department.
If your driver license and tag(s) are
suspended for not having insurance under the No-Fault Law, you will
have to pay $150 and show proof of insurance to get them back. If
it happens a second time within three years, you will pay $250.
If it happens three times within three years, you will have to pay
Also, if your driver license and tag(s)
have been under suspension for 30 days or more for a no-fault insurance
violation, a police officer can seize your tag on the spot.
Your insurance company will give you
an insurance I.D. Card. You must have this card ready to show to
any police officer to prove that you have the required insurance.
If not, you may receive a ticket for not having proof of insurance.
If your driver license or tag(s) are
suspended for not obeying either of these laws, you cannot get a
temporary license for any reason, not even for work purposes only.
Any person who makes a false statement or commits forgery about
their motor vehicle insurance can be guilty of a second degree misdemeanor.
The department will always provide you
with an opportunity to prove insurance coverage or be heard before
How to comply:
- By purchasing a motor vehicle insurance policy
from a company licensed to do business in Florida.
- By obtaining a Financial Responsibility Certificate
from the Bureau of Financial Responsibility after posting a satisfactory
surety bond of a company licensed to do business in Florida.
- By obtaining a Self-insurance Certificate from
the Bureau of Financial Responsibility by depositing cash or securities
with the Department.
- By obtaining a Self-Insurance Certificate from
the Bureau of Financial Responsibility by providing satisfactory
proof of financial responsibility.
Remember: Automobile insurance
is an important part of your driving privilege. Protect yourself
and others by having and keeping the proper insurance coverage.
Traffic Crashes - Your
A driver convicted of leaving the
scene of a crash involving death or personal injury will have his
or her license revoked. The driver is also subject to criminal penalties.
If you are in a crash while driving, you must stop. If anyone
is hurt, you must get help. You must also be ready to give your
name, address, and vehicle registration number; as well as show
your driver license to others involved in the crash.
- Report the crash.
If the crash causes injury, death, or property damage, it must
be reported. Call the local police, the Florida Highway Patrol,
or the County Sheriff's Office. If the crash involves a charge
of driving under the influence (DUI) or results in death, injury,
or property damage to the extent a wrecker must tow a vehicle
away, the officer will fill out a report.
If the crash is investigated by an officer, you, the driver need
not make a written report.
If property damage appears to be over $100 and no report is written
by an officer, you must make a written report of the crash to
the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles within 5 days.
The officer will provide you with a copy of the form for your
- Move your car if it is blocking traffic.
If your car is blocking the flow of traffic, you must move it.
If you cannot move it yourself, you must get help or call a tow
truck. This is true anytime your vehicle is blocking the flow
of traffic whether it has been involved in a crash or not.
- Appear in court.
If you are charged in a driving crash, you may have to go to court.
The officer who comes to the scene of the crash will file charges
against any driver who violated a traffic law. Anyone who is charged
will have a chance to explain to the court what happened. The
court will then decide what the penalty will be. Anyone who is
not charged with violating the law may have to come to court as
Crash Involving an Unattended
If, while driving, you hit a vehicle
with no one in it or if you damage any object that belongs to someone
else, you must tell the owner. Give the owner your name, address,
and tag number in person or in a note attached to the object that
was hit. Report the crash immediately to the proper law enforcement
Drivers are responsible for any littering
from their vehicles. Use ash trays for cigarettes and litter bags
for trash while riding in motor vehicles. Empty ash trays and litter
bags only into trash cans.
LITTERING IS A CRIME. PEOPLE WHO THROW TRASH
ON PUBLIC STREETS AND HIGHWAYS CAN BE FINED UP TO $500.00 OR JAILED
UP TO 60 DAYS.
The court may also require you to pick
up litter along roadways.
It is against the law to damage the roads by driving
on the rim of a flat tire or by any other means.
Go to Chapter Three
Return to Table of Contents
| Foreword | Chapter
1 | Chapter 3 | Chapter
4 | Chapter 5 | Chapter