If you have been charged with a drug possession offense, you face the possibility of several significant penalties. One such penalty is the loss of your license to drive a vehicle. When you start thinking about all the places you drive, the severity of this penalty becomes clear.
Loss of License
Under Florida law, when a person is convicted of the possession or sale of, trafficking in, or conspiracy to possess, sell, or traffic in a controlled substance, the court orders the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (Department) to revoke the person’s license to operate a motor vehicle. Critically, the drug charge does not need to relate to driving in any way for the person to lose their license. It is also important to note that, despite other cities and states decriminalizing the use or possession of marijuana, Florida still classifies it as a controlled substance.
The length of the revocation is two years, unless the person completes a drug treatment and rehabilitation program. Additionally, a person may request to have their driving privilege restored on a restricted or unrestricted basis six months after the revocation.
In certain situations a license for business or employment purposes can be issued for people who have had their license revoked. Pursuant to §322.271, a license restricted for business purposes is defined as any driving necessary to maintain livelihood, including driving to and from work, required on-the-job driving, driving for educational purposes, and driving for church and medical purposes. A license restricted for employment purposes is defined as any driving to and from work and necessary on-the-job driving required by an employer or occupation.
In order to be granted limited driving privileges for business or employment purposes, a person must show that the license revocation or suspension causes a serious hardship and that being able to drive is necessary to provide support for the person or the person’s family. Additionally, the person must complete a driver training course or a DUI program substance abuse education course. In some cases, the person may also be asked to provide letters of recommendations from members of the community to help determine whether the person should be allowed to drive and whether the person can be trusted to operate a motor vehicle.
Driving while License suspended, canceled, revoked or disqualified.
According to §322.34(2), a person who drives a motor vehicle with knowledge that his or her license has been revoked commits a second degree misdemeanor. A rebuttable presumption that the person had knowledge of the revocation exists if there is a judgment or order rendered by a court that appears in the Department’s records. A second degree misdemeanor is punishable by imprisonment for up to 60 days and a fine of up to $500.
In Florida, drug crimes are considered to be some of the most serious offenses. If you have been accused of a drug crime in the south Florida area, contact the criminal defense attorneys at Farkas & Crowley, P.A. We have been through the process of defending individuals facing these serious charges and would like to put that experience to work for you.