In Florida, it is a misdemeanor crime to drive a vehicle if your driver’s license has been suspended. The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles can suspend your driver’s license for a variety of reasons – a DUI arrest, failing to pay traffic tickets, a possession of marijuana conviction and other reasons. If you get a few driving with a suspended license charges within a certain period of time, it can lead to habitual traffic offender status and a five year driver’s license revocation. This can become a real problem for someone who needs his/her vehicle for work, to take care of children and other necessities. Not only do multiple driving with a suspended license convictions result in longer driver’s license suspensions, if you get enough of these charges in a relatively short period of time, they can result in felony convictions and serious jail or prison time.
There is another basis for the state to suspend your driver’s license that has nothing to do with traffic laws or criminal charges. In a recent case near Jacksonville, Florida, a man was ordered to pay alimony, or spousal support, as part of a divorce judgment. However, he allegedly lost his job and stopped making the alimony payments. The Florida Department of Revenue sent him a notice of intent to suspend his driver’s license and motor vehicle registration for failing to pay alimony. The man challenged the procedure by which his driver’s license and vehicle registration were suspended, but he lost. The state is allowed to suspend a person’s driver’s license and vehicle registration for failure to pay alimony. The individual would be allowed to petition the court for relief based on the loss of his job or income, but this is another method by which the state can suspend a person’s driver’s license.
It could certainly be argued that this is a counterproductive enforcement technique, particularly if a person lost his/her job or had some other financial emergency. Additionally, if a person can not drive and gets a criminal conviction for driving with a suspended license, it makes it difficult to get or keep a job. Without stable employment, it is difficult to pay alimony or child support. On the other hand, when people do not pay alimony or child support, the state does not have many options to enforce the support order, and doing nothing certainly will not help the person who needs the financial assistance.