Suspended Driver’s License in Florida: A Reinstatement Guide
If you’re a driver in Florida and your license has been suspended, you may feel overwhelmed trying to figure out how to get it reinstated. You’re not alone! Over 8 million drivers have their licenses suspended annually for various reasons, such as DUI charges, unpaid tickets, or just not keeping up with the paperwork. Fortunately for Floridians ready to hit the roads legally again, we’ve put together this comprehensive guide on reinstating your driver’s license in Florida so that getting back behind the wheel can become as easy as possible.
Knowingly driving with a suspended license is a severe criminal offense.
Those caught may face the following depending if this is a frequented offense:
- Suspend the license for 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 drive 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 did My Florida License Gets Suspended?
There are a dozen reasons a Florida driver’s license gets suspended. These are the most common:
- Too many points for 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 the following:
- 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
- Improper passing
- Fleeing an accident
- Reckless driving
- Failing to stop
- Excess speeding
These offenses carry a usual 3-4 points though they may compound (ex. Speeding through a stop sign).
The FL point system for alcohol-related violations:
- 30-days: 12 points in 12 months
- Three months: 18 points in 18 months
- 1-year: 24 points in 36 months
Other point violations and periods:
- 1-year: Lacking driving responsibilities (reckless)
- Indefinite: avoiding summons, inadequate vision
- Instant: street racing, drug/alcohol offenses, failing to pay child support
You should take a driving course if you have 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 understand the appeal process better.
Ways to Reinstate a Suspended License
The FLHSMV shares a detailed report with every suspension notice. This includes what one must comply with 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 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 depends 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.
- 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 for 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 habituated 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.