Florida DMV Handbook and Regulations FAQ
Everyone that is currently looking to obtain an official, government-approved Florida driver’s license is required and advised to fully review a copy of the Florida DMV’s official driver’s handbook. However, you are welcome to look over the following collection of frequently asked questions in regards to navigating Florida road systems and obtaining Florida licenses as well.
Who is required to have a Florida state driver’s license?
Every resident of Florida is required to have a valid Florida driver’s license in order to drive a motor vehicle of any kind on Florida public streets and highways. If you are a new resident, you are required to apply for a Florida license within 30 days of moving to the state. If you fail to do this, you could be subject to applicable fines and penalties.
What constitutes residency in regards to the state of Florida?
There are quite a few people that could legally be considered residents of the state of Florida without knowing it. Have you recently enrolled your children in a Florida state public school? Have you recently accepted legal employment within state limits? If so, you could very well be considered a Florida resident by law. Consult the official Florida state DMV driver’s manual for a complete list of criteria.
When can I legally drive within the state of Florida without a Florida state driver’s license?
If you are a United States government employee with a valid driver’s license from any other U.S. state or recognized country, you do not need to have a Florida-specific license. You are also not required to obtain a Florida license if you are attending school at a Florida state university or college, but are a non-resident. Also, members of the Armed Forces stationed in Florida on a temporary basis are not required to have a Florida license.
When can I apply for a learner’s permit in the state of Florida?
In Florida, learner’s permits are also sometimes referred to as restricted licenses. You are eligible to apply for one starting at the age of 15. In order to qualify, you have to successfully complete a Florida-approved education course that addresses traffic laws and substance abuse education. In order to legally drive under the terms of your learner’s permit, you must be accompanied by a licensed driver aged 21 years or older at all times. Said driver must ride in the passenger’s seat of your vehicle.
What is a “first time driver” and what does it mean if I’m classified as one?
Any person of any age that is applying for their very first Florida state driver’s license is classified as a first time driver. Of course, many first time drivers will be teenagers that are applying for licenses for the very first time. However, there are many adults covered by the term as well. All first-time drivers will be required to successfully complete an education course that covers basic traffic laws, as well as substance abuse criteria.
What do I do if I get a traffic ticket within the state of Florida?
If you wind up with a Florida state traffic ticket, you’re far from alone. In the year 2003 alone, there were more than 4 million traffic citations issued within state boundaries. Tickets are most commonly related to speeding, but drivers are routinely cited for running red lights, careless driving, and other moving violations as well.
If you are given a Florida state traffic ticket at any time, you are required to satisfy the conditions of the ticket within 30 calendar days of the date specified. Depending on your driving record, conditions could include elective traffic school, court appearances, or payment of applicable civil penalties.
What happens if I request a ticket-related court appearance and lose?
If you do decide to fight your Florida state traffic ticket in court via an official hearing, there is always the chance the court could determine that you’ve committed an infraction. If this happens, you’ll be found guilty of said infraction and be subject to a civil penalty that shall not exceed $500. (In the event the violation in question involved either speeding within a school/construction zone or the death of any person, that amount jumps to $1000.)
Is it legal to drive while talking on a cell phone in Florida?
Yes. Driving while talking on your cell phone is within the limits dictated by Florida state law. However, whether or not you should actually do it is another matter altogether. Please use discretion at all times when it comes to cell phone use in Florida. Consider installing a hands-free cell phone device in your car in order to carry on critical conversations while remaining safe. Please refrain from any and all cell phone use if weather or road conditions are hazardous or otherwise require your undivided attention.
I want to drive a motorcycle in Florida. What do I need to do?
If you already have a valid Florida state driver’s license, you can apply for what is known as a motorcycle endorsement on said license. You can do so by showing proof of completion of the Florida Rider Program.
You can also obtain a Motorcycle Only license if you are aged 16 or older. You also must have had a learner’s permit for a minimum of one year and have no traffic violations of any kind. If you are over the age of 18, you do not need a learner’s permit. However, you do need to have passed a class E operator’s license test, as well as have completed a Basic Riders Course.
I’m a Florida state senior driver. What should I know?
There are currently over 5 million drivers in Florida that are 55 years old or older. If you are this age, you may want to consider taking the official Florida Mature Driver course. If you pass, you can save money on your car insurance – up to 10%. There are also a variety of programs in place that are designed to assist Florida’s senior drivers and their families when it comes to staying safe and determining when is the right time for a given driver to stop driving.