What Are The Penalties For The Offense Known As “No Valid Driver’s License” In Florida?
Disclaimer: This article is in response to questions frequently asked of Mr. Cobb and is an unedited dictation transcript. Just like talk to text on your smartphone, there may be misspelled words or sentence fragments.
No valid driver’s license is one of those offenses that’s kind of sneaky in a sense, so let me explain why. One of my best stories comes from it. And no valid driver’s license is a 2nd degree misdemeanor, meaning that the most that can happen is 60 days in jail. Well, that doesn’t sound like a lot and a lot of people will get a citation in the field, a white or a yellow copy, it’s supposed to be a white one but sometimes they still give the yellow carbon instead. And when they get it, they don’t go to jail. So in their mind, they haven’t been arrested. Now, since in their mind they haven’t been arrested but they have a court date, they look at it and they call it. And when people speak to me, they’ll say, “Well, I didn’t get arrested, I got a ticket”. If you have a court date on a piece of paper, that’s a criminal summons. Let me assure you it’s not a ticket and it can be very serious.
I am in court one day and as a special favor to me, one of the judges in one of the counties allowed me to have a little bit of court time in-between other proceedings and so I’m watching the end of one of these legal proceedings. And people were unrepresented coming up before the judge. Before the judge can take a change in plea from not guilty to no contest or a no contest or guilty plea period upon formal charging, they have to ask a series of questions which is known as a plea colloquy. So this lady comes up there and she’s like in this really professional outfit. I mean when I first see her, I am wondering if she’s a lawyer who is new to the area, or when I realize she’s not a lawyer, maybe she’s a business owner. Obviously, very sharp, polished and professional. She goes up in front of the judge and the prosecutor reads out the charge and the judge pops open the file. Actually this is one of those cases where it was kind of surprising that there was a physical file because they normally use a computer. But anyway, then asked a series of questions when the woman indicates she wants to plead no contest. And it gets longer and longer and longer and I was sitting there on my tablet getting ready for my case and all of a sudden I hear this going down and I said this is going to be interesting, so I fold my tablet out and I watched.
And then the judge says, “I accept your plea to no valid driver’s license as freely and voluntarily entered. I adjudicate you guilty and sentence you to 60 days in the county jail instanter. Now, nobody walks around alive saying instanter. I’ll tell you what it means in legal language. That lady was buckled up on the spot and taken out at the backdoor to jail. She was trying to cry and say the word “But” at the same time. So no valid driver’s license and a lot of these criminal traffic offenses can bite you when you think it’s a minor offense. If you or someone you love is accused of a criminal traffic offense and got a notice to appear a criminal summons as a citation, don’t blow it off as something minor. Contact the law firm that has handled criminal defense matters exclusively since July 2nd of 1990. Call Cobb Law Firm today.
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