A Florida drug conviction requires a mandatory driver’s license revocation. Florida Statute 322.055 is the statute which requires the Judge t0 impose a one year mandatory driver’s license suspension for anyone who is convicted of a narcotics charge after a plea or trial.
The license suspension is mandatory, meaning the judge and prosecutor have no discretion. However, there are ways to avoid the license suspension from occurring. First, if charges are dropped, or if the person enrolls and successfully completes the PTI program mentioned above, there is no driver’s license suspension. Second, a person who is charged but is found not guilty will not receive any suspension of license.
The final way to avoid having your driver’s license being suspended is to successfully negotiate the sentence with the judge and prosecutor to “withhold adjudication.” A negotiated sentence which withholds adjudication means that the person accused is not formally convicted of the narcotics charge. If this happens, the Department of Motor Vehicles will not suspend your driving privileges. A withholding of adjudication may also entitle you to have your record sealed, which is discussed on the following page.
If the driver’s license is suspended for one year, Florida law does not permit a hardship license for at least 6 months. However, there is a way to get a license earlier than 6 months, if the judge in charge of the case signs an order at the time of sentencing permitting an immediate hardship license. In those cases, the person will ve required to complete the advanced driver improvement school.
Since most people are not formally trained in handling such negotiations, it is preferable to have an experienced attorney who can deal with the Judge and the prosecutor assigned to your case if you are potentially facing a mandatory driver’s license suspension on your Florida drug case.