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Reinstatement of Suspended, Revoked or Canceled Florida Driver's Licenses


Sprinkled throughout the article below are references to provisions of the law governing Florida drivers licenses. All of the references are to subsections of Chapter 322 Florida Statutes ("FS"). CLICK HERE to view that statute.


The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles is authorized to suspend or revoke licenses under §322.27 Florida Statutes.
  • A "suspension" is a temporary withdrawal of the privilege to drive. §322.01(12)(a) FS.
  • A "revocation" is a termination of driving privileges. §322.01(12)(b) FS.
  • A "cancellation" is a terminated and voided license. §322.01 (12)(c) FS.
Reasons for Suspension, Cancellation or Revocation:

A driver's license can be suspended or revoked if the driver has been convicted of an offense in another state on grounds which would be grounds for suspension in this state. §322.24.

There are mandatory grounds for revocation of license detailed under §322.26 FS. These include, but are not limited to, vehicular manslaughter, DUI conviction, commission of a felony with a vehicle, or violation of the law against lewdness, assignation or prostitution through the use of a motor vehicle.

A license can also be suspended for refusal to submit to a test for impairment or intoxication. §322.261 FS.

Quite frequently, suspension occurs under the "point system". §322.27(3) FS. Under this section, a license is s suspended if a driver has been "convicted of violation of motor vehicle laws or ordinances amounting to 12 or more points." The suspension is for no more than a one year period. §322.27(3)(a)(b)(c) FS. Out of state convictions , except violations of §322 . 26 (Mandatory Revocation) . receive one-half the number of points had the conviction been made in this state. §322.27(3)(e) FS.

Persons who are designated as "habitual offenders" shall have their license revoked and not be licensed for a minimum of 5 years from the date of revocation. Nevertheless, anyone whose license is revoked may petition the department and show cause why his license should not be revoked. §322.27(5).

There is also an automatic revocation of a driver's license for any person convicted of theft of any motor vehicle or parts or components of a motor vehicle. §322.274(1). However, it is within the discretion of the trial judge who imposes sentence upon the convicted driver, to direct reinstatement of the driver's license "on a limited basis after a reasonable time." §322.274(2).

Reinstatement of License on a Limited Basis

A suspended, revoked or canceled driver's license may be reinstated on a limited basis on account of hardship. Subsection 322.271 FS describes the procedures and the circumstances under which a license can be reinstated on a limited basis. Such reinstatement can be only for the limited purposes of
  • driving necessary for business purposes to maintain livelihood, or
  • driving for employment purposes to maintain livelihood
A person whose driving privilege has been revoked under s. 322.27(5) may, upon expiration of 12 months from the date of such revocation, petition the department for reinstatement of his or her driving privilege. A copy of the petition form is available at any Drivers Examining Office. Upon such petition and after investigation of the person’s qualification, fitness, and need to drive, the department shall hold a hearing pursuant to determine whether the driving privilege shall be reinstated on a restricted basis solely for business or employment purposes. The driver shall submit the following documentation along with the petition:
    (1)   The Division of Driver's Licenses will schedule the hearing. The hearing is taped and a driver has a right to counsel. Final decisions are sometimes deferred to the Tallahassee Division of Driver Licenses (Bureau of Driver Improvement) where a Review Board makes the final decision. The following information is usually requested:

      (a)   Driver's license if in applicant's possession.

      (b)   An affidavit containing the following: full name: address; date of birth; driver's license number; date and reason for 5 us pension , revocation or cancellation; and statements showing why driver's license is needed and showing that such "5 us pens ion , cancellation , or revocation of his license causes a serious hardship and precludes his carrying out his normal business occupation, trade, or employment and that the use of his license in the normal course of his business is necessary to the proper support of himself or his family." §37l.27

      (c)   applicant's intentions regarding his driving habits, if license is returned; and list of all arrests for traffic Violations in this and any other state. (c) Three letters of recommendation may be required form respected businessmen, law enforcement officers or judicial officers in the community in which the applicant resides . These will be used to determine whether the person with the suspended license should be permitted to operate a motor vehicle on a restricted basis for business use only and in determining whether such a person can be trusted to so operate a motor vehicle.

      (d)   The department shall require proof of enrollment in an approved driver training course; if such person fails to complete the approved course within 90 days after reinstatement, the department shall cancel his driver's license until the course is successfully completed. "The privilege of driving on a limited or restricted basis for business or employment use shall not be granted to a person who has been convicted of a violation of §316.193 (DUI) or 5 316.1931 (driving while intoxicated) until completion of such education or training course." §322.271(2) FS.

      (e)   A notarized statement from from employer as to the need of the driver's license in connection with applicant's employment may or may not be required.

    (2)   If, after the hearing, the Division modifies its suspension, revocation or cancellation order or reinstates the license, such use will be for employment or business purposes only for the remaining period of the original suspension or revocation.

    (3)   If, after the hearing, the Division affirms its original order, no further hearing may be had, except that another hearing may be granted by the Division if proof of new evidence is submitted within three months from the first hearing.

    (4)    The violation of restrictions imposed on the use of a reinstated license shall cause the license to be automatically suspended or revoked for the remainder of the period of the original suspension or revocation.

    (5)   As per §322.271(4), a person whose driving privileges have been permanently revoked under §322.28(2)(f) FS may, after 10 years from the date of such revocation, petition the department for restoration of his driving privilege unless he was convicted for manslaughter with the vehicle or of vehicular homicide and a violation of an alcohol-related or drug-related traffic offense specified in §322.28(2)(f) FS.
Ineligible Drivers

Certain drivers are ineligible for a limited basis license. Among these, is the "habitual traffic offender" (defined in §322.264 FS, during the first year of his 5 year revocation. §322.271(1)(b) FS. But after 12 months from the date of revocation, these drivers may petition the department for a restoration of restricted driving privileges for business or employment purposes.

Persons who have been convicted four times of violating §316.193 FS (DUI) or §316.1931 (driving while intoxicated)" or combination of such sections, or a person who has been convicted of manslaughter resulting from the operation of a motor vehicle or vehicular homicide and who has been convicted of a violation of §316.193 or §316.1931" shall have their license permanently revoked. This subsection applies only if at least one o the convictions for violations of §316.193 or §316.1931 was for a violation that occurred after July 1, 1982. §322.28(2)(f) FS.

A person who is convicted of a felony for the possession of a controlled substance if, at the time of such possession, the person was driving or in actual physical control of a motor vehicle, shall have his license and driving privileges revoked. "A person whose driving privilege has been revoked pursuant to this subsection shall not be eligible to receive a limited business or employment purpose license during the term of such revocation." §322.27(6).

Persons who have been convicted of violating" §316.193 (DUI), §316.1931 (driving while intoxicated) or any combination of such sections, two or more times or whose license has been suspended two or more times for refusal to submit to a test under §316.1932 (test for intoxication or impairment)," shall not be granted the privilege of driving on a limited or restricted basis for business or employment use. §322.271(2) FS.

Suspension for Lack of Insurance (Proof of Financial Responsibility)

In Florida, it is required that "the operator of a motor vehicle involved in an accident or convicted of certain traffic offenses meeting the operative provisions of §324.051(Z) shall respond for such damages and show proof of financial ability to respond for damages in future accidents as a requisite to his future exercise of such privileges." §324.011 FS.

There are several ways of proving financial responsibility which are explained in §324.031. A financial responsibility filing is known as an SR-22

Financial responsibility may be proven in several ways: by furnishing evidence of holding a motor vehicle liability policy as defined in §3Z4.021(8) FS and §324.151 FS; by posting with the department a satisfactory bond of a surety company authorized to do business in this state, conditioned for payment of the amount specified in §324.021(7); by furnishing a certificate of the department showing a deposit of cash or securities in accordance with §324.161; or furnishing a certificate of self-insurance, insurance issued by the department in accordance with §324.171. §324.031(1)(2)(3)(4) FS.

A driver may be exempted from this chapter under these conditions: if he presents evidence to show no injury was caused to the person or property of anyone other than such operator or owner; if the motor vehicle was legally parked at the time of such accident; if the motor vehicle was owned by a government agency; if the operator has been finally adjudicated not liable for damages by a civil court of competent jurisdiction; if such operator has secured a release from liability by all parties njured and has complied with one of the provisions of §324.031; if the operator has deposited with the department a security conforming with §324.061 and has complied with §324.031; if one year has elapsed since the owner or operator was suspended pursuant to §324.051(4) and if the operator has complied with §324.031 and no bill of complaint has been filed in a court of competent jurisdiction. §324.051(2) (1, 3, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7) FS.

This subsection (§324.051) will not apply to an operator who had an automobile liability policy in effect at the time; if there was an automobile liability policy or bond with respect to his operation of motor vehicles not owned by him; if liability of driver is covered, in the judgment of the department, by any other form of liability insurance or bond; if the driver has obtained self-insurance in accordance with §324.171; or if such owner or operator was not charged with a moving traffic Violation "which caused or contributed to the cause of a motor vehicle accident, or such owner or operator was subsequently not found guilty of said moving traffic violation.” §324.051 (2)(b)(1, 2, 3, 4, 5) FS.

Security deposited pursuant to §324.051 (2)(a)(b) FS with respect to claims for injuries to property or persons, shall be in the form and amount determined by the department but in no case will it exceed the amounts in §3Z4.021(7) FS. §324.06 FSl(l). The security will not be released until: a statement of satisfaction by all injured parties has been received by the department; or, the depositor has been adjudicated not liable or all judgments against him have been satisfied; or, 1 year has elapsed after deposit and during that period the department has not been notified of any court action brought for damages; or, upon receipt of a court order to satisfy a judgment resulting from an accident. If there is not sufficient funds to cover the judgment, the depositor will be called upon to satisfy the judgment subject to the limits of §324.021(7) FS. Failure to satisfy the judgment in full, will lead to a revocation of the driving privilege within 10 days of notification by the department.

Reinstatement

An operator or owner whose license has been suspended pursuant to a lack of financial responsibility, may seek reinstatement by complying with the provisions of §324.051(2)(a), as set out below:
    1.   adjudication of non-liability for damages, or;

    2.   release from liability by injured parties, or;

    3.   depositing security with the department or;

    4.   complying with one the provisions of §324.031 (proof of financial responsibility or SR-22).
Before any license is reinstated, proof of financial responsibility must be presented. A $15, non-refundable reinstatement fee must also be paid to the department. §324.071 FS.

An owner or operator of a motor vehicle who is involved in an accident within the state and has no license or registration, will not be allowed a license or registration until he complies with the requirements of Chapter 324. §324.101.

When a person fails to satisfy a judgment, after 30 days the department is notified and the license and registration of the person will be suspended. If the judgment creditor consents in writing that the judgment debtor be allowed driving privileges, it may be allowed by the department for 6 months from the date of consent and thereafter until such consent is revoked in writing "notwithstanding default in the payment of such judgment, or any installments thereof prescribed in §324.141 (Installment Payments) provided the judgment debtor furnished proof of financial responsibility as provided in §324.031 FS, such proof to be maintained for 3 years." §324.121(1)(2) FS.

A judgment debtor, after due notice to the judgment creditor, may request from the court payment of the judgment in installments and the court may so order and fix the amounts and times of payments. If a court grants installment payments and the debtor obtains proof of financial responsibility, his/her license will not be suspended. Failure to pay installments, however, will lead to license suspension. §324.141 (1)(2)(3).

If an owner’s registration is suspended, it is unlawful for him "to transfer such registration or to have registered in any other name the motor vehicle in respect of which such registration was issued until the department is satisfied that such transfer of registration is proposed in good faith and not for the purpose of defeating the purpose of this chapter." §324.211(1)(a) FS.

A non-resident who has his driving privilege suspended or revoked, must be reinstated in his home state before he can make an application for a Florida driver's license.

Representation for the Bureau of Financial Responsibility is found at Driver License Division Examining Stations. Money can be deposited there pursuant to §324.051(b) and a receipt will be issued. The money is then sent to Tallahassee. To be recovered by the judgment creditor, he must sue.

If the creditor wins, a copy of the judgment must be sent to Tallahassee to the Bureau of Financial Responsibility. If the judgment exceeds the security deposit, the Bureau will suspend the license of the debtor until he pays the difference. If the creditor does not sue, or loses, the money Will be released to the debtor after 12 months from the date of deposit. §324.061(2)(c) FS.