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Q

My Florida driver license expired 6 months ago. I got criminal traffic citation, 322.3. I would like to know what could be the penalties. I am waiting a response for my visa extension, and I might no be able to get it before my court hearing.


A

According to the Florida Statutes 322.30 is for no operation under foreign license during suspension, revocation, or disqualification in this state. Here it states that:

(1) Any resident or nonresident whose driver's license or right or privilege to operate a motor vehicle in this state has been suspended, revoked, or disqualified as provided in this chapter, shall not operate a motor vehicle in this state under a license, permit, or registration certificate issued by any other jurisdiction or otherwise during such suspension, revocation, or disqualification until a new license is obtained.

Or perhaps you were instead cited under 322.03, which is drivers must be licensed. Here under subsection (5) it states that it is a violation of this section for any person whose driver's license has been expired for more than 4 months to operate a motor vehicle on the highways of this state.

If you were charged under this section of the law, then in subsection (6) it notes a person who is charged with a violation of this section may not be convicted if, prior to or at the time of his or her court or hearing appearance, the person produces in court or to the clerk of the court in which the charge is pending a driver's license issued to him or her and valid at the time of his or her arrest. The clerk of the court is authorized to dismiss such case at any time prior to the defendant's appearance in court. The clerk of the court may assess a fee of $5 for dismissing the case under this subsection.

So you may want to check with the court or a lawyer to see if due to your visa status and expired Florida driver's license if there is anything you can do besides face the penalties in place for driving without a valid license. From our research it appears that the penalties for driver's license issues are listed under FL Statute 322.39.

Here it states that unless another penalty is provided in this chapter or by the laws of this state, a person convicted of a misdemeanor for the violation of a provision of this chapter is guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in statute 775.082 or 775.083.

These statutes (775.02 and 775.083) note that a conviction for a misdemeanor of the second degree can come with a definite term of imprisonment not to exceed 60 days and a fine of up to $500. You mentioned your ticket is a criminal traffic citation. In FL a criminal traffic offense means a violation that may subject a defendant upon conviction to incarceration which is indeed one of the penalties for the licensing issues listed above.

The court listed on your citation, the FL HSMV and/or a lawyer should be able to give you more information on your situation and if there are ways to limit your penalties.


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