New drivers must complete a graduated driver's licensing program in order to get driver's licenses in Florida. 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 driving alone with a permit. You'll face consequences if you get caught driving with a permit by yourself.
The Florida Graduated Licensing Program
The three stages of Florida's driver licensing requirements include 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, and only certain hours at night. The system allows new drivers to practice their driving skills in a controlled environment while minimizing the risk of accidents.
New drivers must first complete a drug and alcohol traffic awareness course and pass the DMV permit test to get a Florida learner's permit, indicating their knowledge of road signs and traffic safety laws.
Learner's Permit Restrictions
New drivers are expected to complete 50 hours of behind-the-wheel driving as part of their learner's permits, at least 10 of which must be conducted at night. License holders are permitted to drive until only 7 p.m. 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 alone with a permit is an offense known as the misuse of a restricted license, and the penalty is a license suspension. The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles will take your license away temporarily. The duration and possible other penalties depend on the severity of your violation, such as whether you've driven alone only once and in an emergency situation or whether you're a repeat offender who has regularly been driving alone with a permit.
The suspension for driving with a permit alone is likely to last no longer than six months. Do not drive while your learner's license is suspended because additional penalties can apply.
Reinstating Your Suspended Learner's License
Your license is eligible for reinstatement at the end of the suspension period, assuming you haven't committed another offense during this time. Visit any DMV driver's license office and pay the reinstatement fee to reinstate your license. You won't have to apply for a new license.
Read More: What Happens If You Drive With a Suspended 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 must earn. You can apply for a provisional license if you've had a learner's license for at least 12 months and your driving record contains no traffic infractions or violations. You're going to have to spend more time with a learner's permit than originally planned if it's suspended, whether as a penalty for driving with a permit alone or another reason. The months of suspension don't count toward the year total.
The holder of a Florida learner's license must never drive alone. Driving unaccompanied can lead to a temporary suspension of your license.
Jayne Thompson earned an LL.B. in Law and Business Administration from the University of Birmingham and an LL.M. 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.