What Are the Penalties for Driving Alone With a Learner's Permit in Florida?

By Jayne Thompson - Updated March 15, 2018
Teen driving alone

In order to get a driver's license in Florida, new drivers must complete a graduated driver's licensing program. The program includes three phases, the first of which is a learner's permit. The learner's permit allows you to take driving lessons from a qualified adult driver. At no point should you be in the vehicle alone.

Tip

The holder of a Florida learner's license must never be in the car alone. Driving unaccompanied can lead to a temporary suspension of your license.

The Florida Graduated Licensing Program

Like many states, Florida operates a graduated program of driver licensing. The three stages consist of a learner's permit, a provisional or intermediate license and a full driver's license. Each stage comes with driving privileges that increase as you move through the stages. For example, learner and provisional license holders are permitted to drive during the day, but not at night. The system allows new drivers to practice their driving skills in a controlled environment while minimizing the risk of accidents.

Learner's Permit Restrictions

As part of their learner's permit, drivers are expected to complete 50 hours of behind-the-wheel driving, at least 10 of which must be conducted at night. License holders are permitted to drive only during the daytime for the first three months. After that, they may drive until 10 p.m. Someone who holds a learner's license must never be in the car alone. An adult with a full driving license must be in the front seat at all times.

Penalties for Driving Unaccompanied

Driving unaccompanied is a driving offense known as the misuse of a restricted license. The penalty is a license suspension. If your license is suspended, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles will take it away temporarily. The exact period depends on the severity of your violation, for example, whether you have driven alone only once and in an emergency, or whether you are a repeat offender. The suspension is likely to last no longer than six months. Do not drive while your learner's license is suspended, as additional penalties may apply.

Reinstating Your Suspended Learner's License

At the end of the suspension period, your license is eligible for reinstatement, assuming you have not committed another offense during this time. To reinstate your license, visit any DMV driver's license office and pay the reinstatement fee. You won't have to apply for a new license.

Graduating to Stage Two

A provisional driving license is the second stage of the Florida graduated licensing program. Getting a provisional license is a privilege you earn. You can apply for a provisional license if you have had a learner's license in your possession for at least 12 months, and your driving record contains no traffic infractions or violations. If your learner's license is suspended, you are going to have to spend more time with a learner's permit than originally planned.

About the Author

Jayne Thompson earned an LLB in Law and Business Administration from the University of Birmingham and an LLM in International Law from the University of East London. She practiced in various “big law” firms before launching a career as a commercial writer. Her work has appeared on numerous legal blogs including Quittance, Upcounsel and Medical Negligence Experts. Find her at www.whiterosecopywriting.com.

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