What Happens If You Get a DUI Without a License?

Getting behind the wheel after consuming alcohol or drugs can have severe consequences in Florida. But what happens if you’re caught driving under the influence without a valid driver’s license?  


In this article, our attorneys explore the legal ramifications, penalties, and potential outcomes of a DUI without a license in Florida. 



The Basics of DUI in Florida 


In the state of Florida, it is unlawful to operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher. The same is true for anyone who drives or is in physical control of a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol to the extent that their normal faculties are too impaired to drive safely.  


Florida also has a zero-tolerance policy for drivers under the age of 21, meaning any detectable amount of alcohol in their system can result in a DUI charge. 


DUI Without a License in Florida 


Driving without a valid license is a separate offense in Florida, and it can occur for any of the following reasons: 


  • Driving with a Suspended License: If your driver’s license has been suspended due to prior traffic violations, failure to pay fines, or other reasons, and you are caught driving, it’s considered a criminal offense.  


  • Driving Without Ever Having a License: Some individuals may never have obtained a valid driver’s license and choose to drive anyway. 


  • Driving With an Expired License: All driver’s licenses have an expiration date. Driving with an expired license is also illegal. 


But what happens when you combine a DUI with driving without a license in Florida? 


Consequences of DUI Without a License 


When you are arrested for DUI without a valid license in Florida, you face multiple legal consequences, both for the DUI offense and for driving without a license.  


DUI Penalties 


The penalties for a DUI offense in Florida are already substantial.  


  • DUI First Offense: Up to 6 months in jail, fines between $500 and $1,000, up to 6 months suspended license, up to one-year probation, 10 days vehicle impoundment.  


More severe penalties apply as the circumstances involved in the case become more serious. These aggravating factors include one or more prior DUI convictions, a blood/breath alcohol content level (BAC) of 0.15 or higher, an accident is involved, a person other then the driver is injured, or a minor under the age of 18 is present in the vehicle during the DUI.  


Driving Without a License Penalties 


Driving without a valid license is a criminal offense in Florida. Penalties can be more severe than someone might think, even for a first offense. 


  • First Offense Driving with Suspended License: May be charged as a Second-Degree Misdemeanor with penalties of up to 6 months in jail and a fine of up to $500. 


  • Second Offense Driving with Suspended License: A second offense is charged as a First-Degree Misdemeanor punishable by up to 12 months in jail and a $1,000 fine. 


  • Third Offense Driving with Suspended License: A third offense will result in Third-Degree Felony charges carrying a 5-year maximum prison sentence and a $5,000 fine.  


Driving After License Suspended for DUI in Florida 


Florida law imposes a very severe penalty on a person who gets caught driving with a suspended or revoked license that was suspended for DUI; forfeiture of the vehicle plus costs. An experienced DUI and traffic defense lawyer is essential to ensure that the driver has every legal opportunity to avoid this severe penalty, the process is extremely threatening to someone who faces the loss of their vehicle. 


Defenses and Legal Strategies 


Facing a DUI without a license charge in Florida is a serious challenge, but there are effective defenses and legal strategies that an experienced attorney can explore on your behalf. Here are a few possibilities: 


Challenging the Legality of Your DUI Arrest 


A skilled DUI defense lawyer will examine every fact and event relating to your DUI arrest to determine if any procedural errors occurred, such as improper field sobriety tests, inaccuracies in breathalyzer results, or violations of your constitutional rights. If law enforcement made mistakes during your arrest, it will weaken the prosecution’s case and can enable our DUI defense attorneys to pressure the prosecutor into dismissing or reducing the DUI charge to a lesser offense. 


Validity of the License Suspension 


The best lawyers will also challenge the validity of your license suspension. If there were issues with the suspension process, such as improper notice or an error in the suspension order, it might be possible to have the suspension overturned. 


Exploring Diversion Programs 


Florida offers various diversion programs for individuals facing DUI charges, including programs for first-time offenders. Completing one of these programs may result in reduced penalties and a cleaner criminal record. Experienced DUI defense lawyers know precisely which cases are eligible for these diversion programs.  


In Hillsborough County and Pinellas County, Stechschulte Nell is fully informed about the available programs and whether your case will qualify.  


Read More > Alternative Sentencing for First-Time DUI Offenders  


Trust Only Experienced DUI Defense Lawyers 


At Stechschulte Nell, Attorneys at Law in Tampa, we have extensive experience representing people charged with violating Florida’s criminal statutes, including DUI and driving without a valid driver’s license. 


Our reputation for success was built by effectively protecting our client’s legal rights and providing advocacy supported by years of intense legal study and courtroom practice. DUI law is among the most technical areas of criminal defense, involving knowledge about scientific research, new alcohol testing technology, and human metabolism.  


Every DUI case we handle is intensely studied to identify procedural errors by the arresting police officer, including the grounds for the initial traffic stop, the administration of field sobriety tests, the operation of the breathalyzer equipment, and the accuracy of the written reports.  


Make sure your DUI defense lawyer is as capable and experienced as the defense lawyers at Stechschulte Nell. Contact our office to discuss your case at 813-280-1244.  

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