An individual might assume that drivers who had their licenses suspended lost their driving privileges due to unsafe roadway habits. This may not be the case. As noted by the advocacy group Fines and Fees Justice Center, the majority of Florida’s suspended licenses are the result of unpaid fees or fines.
A study conducted in 2019 by the FFJC found that close to 2 million Florida residents were unable to drive due to a license suspension. A suspended license may last years before a reinstatement occurs. The study found that the greater number of the suspensions were still in effect since their issuance between 2016 and 2018.
Suspensions bring severe hardships to many Florida drivers
Many drivers are unable to pay the steep fines the Florida courts hand down. The fines may increase by as much as 40% if the system forwards the unpaid amounts to third-party collection agencies. This typically occurs when no payment arrives after three months.
Charges such as DUI and other unsafe driving habits represented under 5% of Florida’s suspensions in 2017, as reported by the Orlando Sentinel. Florida suspends driver’s licenses for unpaid fines, missing a court appearance or failing to make a child support payment.
Desperation may lead to driving on a suspended license
The steep fines are a hardship for many Florida drivers, but the circumstances may worsen. The subsequent license suspension for nonpayment often results in the loss of a much-needed job. Many parts of the Sunshine State lack dependable public transportation; the vast majority of the state’s income-earners rely upon driving to get to work.
In some cases, desperation may cause an individual to drive to work on a suspended license. A first-time offense may result in another fine and two months in jail. A second offense may bring up to a year in jail if convicted.