Approximately two million motorists had their licenses suspended by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. As reported by the Sun-Sentinel, motorists do not always know that they are driving with a suspended license because of outdated information kept in the FLHSMV database. 

Many drivers, unfortunately, first learn about a suspended license status when law enforcement officials pull them over for a traffic offense. When officials run a license check and see a revoked, canceled or suspended status, they have the authority to arrest the motorist. Once under arrest, however, a motorist faces other issues such as an impounded vehicle, entering a plea in court and having a criminal record. 

Automatic suspension of a license 

The Sunshine State will automatically suspend a driver’s license because of an alleged failure to meet court-ordered child support obligations. A missed payment may trigger the automatic suspension, and reinstating a driver’s license requires paying the outstanding balance, including any late fees or other penalties. The suspension is contestable through the court, and a motorist generally has 20 days in which to request a hearing. 

The FLHSMV may also send out a suspension notice because a motorist failed to pay a ticket or did not appear in court for a traffic-related offense. The agency mails notices to a motorist’s address on file, but if he or she moved, the postal service may not forward it to the correct address. When a motorist finally learns about a suspended status, he or she will need to pay the original traffic citation in addition to late fees and penalties for missed court dates. To reinstate a driver’s license, all late fees and penalties require payment in full. 

Reinstating a license to get back to work 

Motorists need to reinstate their licenses quickly, so they can drive to and from work without a need to worry about a possible arrest. When a license suspension occurs because of a DUI charge, however, there may be additional conditions to meet before applying for reinstatement.