Well common sense finally prevailed and Florida is now a more welcoming State to the millions of foreign visitors who drive our roads every year. The Governor signed a bill which repealed the old law that had required foreignors to obtain an international driver's license.
As you can imagine, having such a requirement was causing anxiety, specifically amongst the over 1 million Canadian tourists who visit Florida, many of whom did not have an international driver's license and were in a panic, that if caught driving, they would be thrown in jail. Additionally, there was concern that foreign visitors would not be allowed to rent a car. A legitimate concern in Florida.
Therefore, effective immediately, an international driver's license in Florida is no longer required to drive.
Does this mean the problem is over and everyone driving has a valid license? Hardly.
A person must have a valid license from their country of origin or they do run the risk of being given a ticket for driving without a license, or worse. Keep reading.
Sadly, what is still all too common are the potentially millions of foreign driver's who are here illegally and whose licenses from their countries of origin have expired.
In other words, people who came here on a tourist visa, got a license which was valid as long as the visa, and decided to stay. However, when the date expires, they are obviously not allowed to drive anymore.
But do they stop driving??? Of course not.
Can they get a license at the local DMV??? Of course not.
So where does that leave us? Well, basically, there are a ton of people driving on our roads in Florida with either an expired foreign driver's license or an expired Florida driver's license they cannot renew.
Why should you care? Well, for starters, having an invalid license usually means you can't get insurance. If a person can't get insurance and drives, guess who pays when there's an accident? Bingo!!! The person who has insurance.
Additionally, many people allow someone to drive their car and have not even considered asking if they have a valid license. (Honestly, how many times have you asked to look at a person's license before they've driven your car).
Why is that a problem? Very simply, if you allow a person to drive your car, and that person does not have a valid license, you are on the hook for whatever happens when they are driving. If they get in an accident, it is very likely your insurance company will deny coverage, as they did not agree to insure a driver without a valid license. And no, it's not going to work if you "play dumb" and tell the insurance company you didn't know the person didn't have a valid license.
If you are one of the many unlicensed foreign drivers out there, be careful. You not only can get thrown in jail but deported if you are found to have violated a law by driving without a valid license.
If you have a ticket for driving on an expired license (foreign or domestic), we'll be happy to give you a free consultation. There are defenses that may work to keep you out of jail or keep you from being deported. Call us at 866-374-8355 and we'll be happy to talk to you.