Suspended Driver’s License in Florida: A Reinstatement Guide

Suspended Driver's License

Knowingly driving with a suspended license is a serious criminal offense.

Those caught may face the following depending if this is a frequented offense:

  • Suspend the license up to a 5-year period
  • Hard time (usually 60-days) in a county jail
  • Fines ranging from $500 to $5000
  • Up to a 5-year revocation of your license

There are instances in which you may unknowingly drove with a suspended license. Perhaps you forgot to renew your license or failed to pay a traffic fine. Whatever the cause, it’s in your best interest to resolve these issues before they become even more problematic.

Why a Florida License Gets Suspended

There are a dozen reasons a Florida driver’s license gets suspended. These are the most common:

  • Too many points from traffic violations
  • Conviction or arrest from a DUI/DWI
  • Drug or theft-related convictions
  • Street racing and reckless driving
  • Delinquent traffic fees or child support
  • Failing to have minimum insurance coverage

It’s best to talk with a legal counsel to fully understand the state’s decision and your rights. The length to which your license is suspended depends on the severity of your actions. Plus, the times caught when driving with a suspended license.

My License is Suspended, Now What?

It’s recommended you surrender your license, if it’s been suspended, to your local DMV. Failure to immediately turn-over your license may extend the suspension period.

The FLHSMV will alert you by mail detailing:

  • Judgment overview
  • Length of suspension
  • Start date of the suspension

Check the Florida driving records to get a copy of your driving record for verification.

Understanding the Driver’s License Suspension

The period your driver’s license is suspended depends on the severity of your actions. The suspension could range from a month to years. Factors include how quickly one reacts to violations, Florida’s point system, and the severity of an incident.

Florida’s Point System

Florida uses a point-based system with driving records. Depending on the offense, you may have accumulated many points inching one-step closer to extended suspension or loss of license.

Points may incur from the following:

  • Driving on the wrong side of the road
  • Littering
  • Improper passing
  • Fleeing an accident
  • Reckless driving
  • Failing to stop
  • Collisions
  • Excess speeding

These offenses carry a usual 3-4 points though may compound (ex. Speeding through a stop sign).

Suspension Periods

The FL point system for alcohol-related violations:

  • 30-days: 12 points in 12 months
  • 3-months: 18 points in 18 months
  • 1-year: 24 points in 36 months

Other point violations and period:

  • 1-year: Lacking driving responsibilities (reckless)
  • Indefinite: avoiding summons, inadequate vision
  • Instant: street racing, drug/alcohol offenses, failing to pay child support

It’s recommended you take a driving course if you feel you’ve accumulated too many points.

Reinstating a Suspended Florida License

Driver’s having received a license suspension notice may appeal to the FLHSMV given their offense did not include an alcohol-related offense. Criminal penalties will likely still apply. Consult your legal representative to better understand the appeal process.

Ways to Reinstate a Suspended License

The FLHSMV shares a detailed report with every suspension notice. This includes what one must comply to reinstate their license and driving privileges.

Reinstating a suspended license may include doing the following:

  • Complying and appearing to a summons
  • Paying the fines and reinstatement fee
  • Serve the probation or suspension period
  • Waiting for FL points to drop-off the record
  • Serve the required jail time
  • Complete a drug and alcohol education course
  • Submit a vision exam (for inadequate vision violations)

You will also need to pay any additional fines and fees associated with the suspension. Some individuals may need to get FR44 insurance depending on their alcohol-related or repeated offenses.

What You’ll Pay to Reinstate a Suspended License

Reinstating a suspended license is expensive once all fees are paid – this includes:

  • Suspension fee: $45
  • Revocation: $75
  • Extra Fee (Child Support): $60
  • Extra Fee (Tickets): $60
  • Extra Fee (Alcohol Offense): $130
  • Extra fee (Interlock ignition): $12

Court and legal fees may apply too along with unexpected costs like vehicle storage/impound! Refer to the FLHSMV’s driver handbook to learn about extra fees.

License Suspension Resulting from DUI

DUI and DWI are serious offenses in the state of Florida. The severity of fines/fees and legal actions depend on the state’s breath alcohol threshold (0.08%). Your driver’s license is automatically suspended for any drug and/or alcohol-related offense.

21 and Over (BAL 0.08%+)

  • 1st offense: 6-month suspension
  • 2nd offense: 1-year suspension

A 1-year and 18-month suspension will occur for first and second refusals of breath, urine, or blood test during the time of the offense.

Under 21 (BAL 0.02%+)

  • 1st offense: 6-month suspension
  • 2nd offense: 1-year suspension

A 1-year and 18-month suspension will occur for first and second refusals of breath, urine, or blood test during the time of the offense. Those under 21 showing a 0.05% or higher are required to take a substance and alcohol course/evaluation.

Notes:

  • A 10-day temporary driving permit is available to some within 12-hours of the incident.
  • CDL drivers are instantly disqualified from operating commercial vehicles from these offenses

Appealing for a Florida Hardship License

A hardship license is a restricted license for those who qualify:

  • Having too many points
  • Having caused serious injury or death
  • Having shown habituate traffic offenses
  • Having occurred a drug/alcohol offense

This uncommon license is sometimes available for those who committed a first-time offense. Or, those having a DUI suspension (0.02% – 0.05%) and have shown/passed a traffic and drug course.

The local DMV can start this process upon further inquiry with the Bureau of Administrative Reviews. A hardship license allows the holder limited driving such as to/from work or school. Tests, fees, and reinstatement are part of the hardship license appeal process, too.

Bring your driver’s license information and suspension notice details when appealing. Those approved may require an ignition lock device restricting their driving privileges. You cannot receive a hardship license for violations paired with CDL driving.