Under Florida state law, it is illegal for any person who owns or controls a motor vehicle to knowingly allow anyone without a driver’s license to operate that vehicle on public roads. It is also illegal for a parent or legal guardian to knowingly allow their child to drive on public roads if that child does not have a permit. This is true even if that parent or guardian is with their child in the car.
It can at first seem shocking to receive a criminal charge for allowing a minor to drive without a permit in Orlando. The challenge is only harder if your kid is also facing their own charge of driving without a license. In both respects, guidance from a qualified traffic attorney is important. You should consult with a member of the Umansky Law Firm team who has experience handling these cases.
There are two state statutes that address the act of allowing an unlicensed person, or someone otherwise not “duly authorized” as a driver, to operate their motor vehicle in Florida. Florida Statutes § 322.36 more broadly applies to someone permitting any “unauthorized operator” to drive their personal car, while Florida Statutes § 322.35 specifically addresses a parent or guardian knowingly permitting their child or ward under 18 years old to operate any motor vehicle without a driver’s license or learner’s permit.
Both offenses are classified as criminal traffic violations that, upon a guilty plea or adjudication of guilt, may be punished as second-degree misdemeanors. This means that an adult convicted of letting their child drive without a license may face maximum sanctions of 60 days in jail, six months’ probation, and/or a $500 fine. Additionally, a person who knowingly allows a minor to drive without a permit in Orlando may have their own driver’s license suspended for a year if that minor causes a traffic accident which results in injury or death.
When it comes to “permitting an unauthorized minor to drive” and “permitting an unauthorized operator to drive” under Florida state law, the key word is “knowingly.” Put simply, a person cannot be convicted under Fla. Stat. § 322.35 if they were earnestly unaware that their child was operating their car on public roads. That is also true if they were aware but did not knowingly authorize or allow their child to operate that vehicle.
It is worth noting that a parent or guardian who unintentionally allows their child to drive without a license or permit might end up facing additional scrutiny for alleged child neglect in both family and criminal court. This could end up resulting in more serious sanctions than the original offense. Given this delicate situation, it is always worth discussing legal options and strategies with an experienced lawyer before committing to fighting charges for allowing a minor to drive without a permit in Orlando.
Even if you were with them the whole time, letting your child drive without a permit or license can lead to you facing criminal charges and substantial criminal penalties upon conviction. Whether you have a criminal history or not, it is vital that you handle this situation with care.
Allowing a minor to drive without a permit in Orlando is not a situation you should try to manage alone. Call the Umansky Law Firm today to learn how a tenacious criminal defense lawyer could help you.
The Umansky Law Firm Criminal Defense & Injury Attorneys