The state of Florida has created a series of laws designed to keep people safe on the roads. Failure to comply with these laws puts everyone in danger. To make sure people follow the rules, the consequences for unsafe driving may include having your license temporarily suspended. Here’s what you need to know.
Reasons for License Suspension in Florida
Florida law allows the state to suspend driver’s licenses for many reasons — and not all of them have to do directly with your driving skill or record. Possible reasons for license suspension include:
Using a false name or other fraudulent methods to obtain a driver’s license
Allowing your license to be used for illegal purposes (i.e. for a minor to purchase alcohol or to commit another type of fraud)
Failure to provide proof of auto insurance when asked by law enforcement
Refusal to submit to a urine or breath test for blood alcohol content when asked by law enforcement
Accumulation of too many points on your license in a given time period
Conviction in traffic court leading to a judge’s determination in favor of suspension
Misusing a restricted license (i.e. driving past curfew on a junior license)
Failure to pay traffic fines
Failure to appear in traffic court
Failure to pay child support
Failure to stop for a school bus
Committing acts of theft in a retail space
Dropping out of school
The Florida Points System
Most traffic violations are tied to the points system. If you are pulled over and ticketed for offenses like speeding, passing a school bus, or texting while driving, you’ll earn points on your license. If you earn too many points in a given time period, your license may be suspended. The length of suspension depends on the number of points you’ve accumulated:
12 points within a 12-month period: 30-day suspension
18 points within an 18-month period: One-month suspension
24 points within a three-year period: One-year suspension
Reinstating Your License
The process for reinstating a suspended license varies depending on the reason for the suspension. If your suspension is due to failure to appear in traffic court, pay a traffic ticket, or pay court fees, you can generally have your license reinstated as soon as you meet these obligations and pay the license reinstatement fee of $60.
If your suspension is due to failure to pay child support, you must contact the Florida Department of Revenue to work out a payment plan and pay the license reinstatement fee of $45.
If your suspension is due to failure to provide auto insurance, you will have to follow the steps provided by the state for your specific type of violation. Reinstatement fees for insurance issues range from $15 to $500.
For suspensions due to points violations or certain other safety violations, you will have to complete a state-recognized traffic school course. The 12-hour Advanced Driver Improvement (ADI) course helps you brush up on your knowledge of traffic laws. To reinstate your license after your suspension period is over, you’ll need to provide a certificate of completion and pay a reinstatement fee of $45.
Applying for a Hardship License
If going without a license for the entire period of your suspension would cause you serious financial difficulty, you can apply for a hardship license. This limited license allows you to drive only to certain places, typically from your home to work or to school. To get your application approved, you’ll need to provide a compelling reason that you need to drive and show that you’ve signed up for an approved ADI course.
If you stay aware of Florida laws and commit to safe driving practices, you should be able to avoid a license suspension. If you do find yourself on the wrong end of a traffic ticket, remember that you have options. Sign up for traffic school, and commit to obeying all the laws in the future, so you don’t find yourself relying on friends for a lift.