Drug Offenses & License Suspensions in Florida

As a Florida driver, surely, you’re well-aware of the fact that a conviction for driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs, or both, can lead to a driver license revocation. For example, a first DUI conviction is punishable by 180 days to one year driver license revocation under the Florida Statutes.

Aside from driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, are there other criminal offenses that could lead to a driver license suspension or revocation? We’re not talking about having too many points on your driving record because of speeding or driving without automobile insurance, we’re specifically asking about other criminal offenses. Yes, there are another group of crimes in particular, aside from a DUI, that can lead to a license revocation – drug offenses.

Can I Lose My License for Drug Possession?

Under Section 322.055 of the Florida Statutes it states, “upon the conviction of a person 18 years of age or older for possession or sale of, trafficking in, or conspiracy to possess, sell, or traffic in a controlled substance, the court shall direct the department to revoke the driver license or driving privilege of the person.”

But, how long will such a person’s driver license be revoked? Under Sec. 322.055(1), the offender’s driver license will be revoked for one year, or until he or she has been evaluated and if it is deemed necessary, until the offender successfully completes an approved drug treatment and rehabilitation program that is deemed acceptable by the Department of Children and Families.

“I can’t afford to lose my driver license for one year, especially for a minor marijuana charge. Is there any way the court will let me drive to and from work?” Under Sec. 322.055(1), the court does have discretion to allow an offender to receive a license that is restricted to driving for employment or business purposes only, but not for another reason, providing the individual is “otherwise qualified for such a license.”

If a person’s driver license has been suspended under Sec. 322.055 because he or she was convicted of a drug-related offense, once six months has passed, the individual may petition for a restricted or unrestricted license depending on how long their license was revoked for. Under Sec. 322.055(1), there is no way that an offender can obtain a restricted license sooner than six months from the start of the revocation or suspension. In other words, if you’re convicted of a drug offense and your driver license is revoked or suspended as a result, you have to wait six months before you can apply for a restricted license.

Driving Privilege Restricted to Business or Employment

Suppose you are convicted of a drug offense and your license is subsequently revoked. If your application for a restricted license is granted, where are you legally allowed to drive? Under Section 322.271 of the Florida Statutes, it explains that when a driving privilege is restricted to business purposes only, it “means a driving privilege that is limited to any driving necessary to maintain livelihood, including driving to and from work, necessary on-the-job driving, driving for educational purposes, and driving for church and for medical purposes.” What about the term, “restricted for employment purposes”?

The term “restricted for employment purposes” means the individual’s driving is restricted to driving to and from work, and any driving that is necessary for the person’s job or occupation. So, the first example, “driving for business purposes” has a little more flexibility. Under that definition, the individual can drive to and from work, but they can also drive for educational purposes, they can drive to the doctor or hospital, and they can even drive to church.

Are you facing drug-related charges in Tampa? If so, you’re facing the possibility of fines, imprisonment and driver license revocation. To speak with a Tampa drug possession attorney, who’s also a former Hillsborough County prosecutor, contact us today!