You may have been arrested for DUI and now your license has recently been restricted by the
Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles for “business purposes only”.
But what does that mean?
Unfortunately, there are some uncertainties and some misconceptions about what type of driving is allowed. Police officers often unlawfully limit the restriction and make arrests for driving that is actually allowed by the law.1
If the statute can be misunderstood by police, we need to examine the legal definition. Section 322.271(1)(c)1 of the Florida Statutes reads as follows:
1. “A driving privilege restricted to business purposes only” means a driving privilege that is limited to any driving necessary to maintain livelihood, including driving to and from work, necessary on-the-job driving, driving for educational purposes, and driving for church and for medical purposes.
The legislature did not specify exactly what is and what is not covered by a BPO license.
Understandably, most individuals equate business with work, and operate under the misconception that the BPO license allows driving only to and from work. This is simply not true.
I will explain what is and is not permissible, and what to do if you are stopped by the police while driving on a BPO or restricted license.
First, it should be noted that the legislature has a restriction for “employment purposes only” (EPO). Florida Statute 322.271(1)(c)2:
2. “A driving privilege restricted to employment purposes only” means a driving privilege that is limited to driving to and from work and any necessary on-the-job driving required by an employer or occupation. Driving for any purpose other than as provided by this paragraph is not permitted by a person whose driving privilege has been restricted to employment or business purposes.
Clearly, this restriction allows the driver to go to work, perform any necessary work-related driving, and then return home.
In contrast to the EPO, the BPO definition tracks the employment language verbatim, but also adds terms like livelihood, education, religion and medical.
The Director of the Division of Driver’s Licenses sent an internal memo to all “Law Enforcement Agencies and Traffic Courts” advising that driving for groceries is authorized under this restriction.2
Of even more significance, two circuit courts in the State of Florida have ruled that driving to McDonald’s and Burger King to eat food also falls under the authorized scope of BPO.
It is my opinion that a BPO license will include travel for work, and allow driving for school, doctor’s appointments, grocery shopping and food purchases (provided that you did not pick a restaurant far away from your house).
So if you are stopped while driving on a BPO license, be aware that you were likely “targeted” because the law enforcement officer ran your license plate through his computer, and saw the registered owner had a recent arrest for DUI (or similar event that led to the restricted license).
Once that determination is made, the officer will try to find a way to pull you over. Ultimately, you will likely be asked:
“[W]here are you going“?
This question is designed to find out if the officer can make an arrest for “Violation of DL Restriction”. You will most likely not be read your Miranda Warnings before questioning, even though they should.
The courts have limited Miranda warnings for “custodial interrogation” and not an initial encounter, but the Constitution protects its citizens from being “compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself.”4
If you are driving for legitimate reasons under the BPO restriction, you can so advise the officer and, if necessary, provide the document or case law attached to this article.
However, if you are driving beyond the limits covered by a BPO, you may want to exercise your Fifth Amendment Right to Remain Silent, or you can plea the “Fiz-ifth”, courtesy of Dave Chappelle.
Without your self-incriminating statements, it would be extremely difficult for the prosecutor to meet the burden of proof, beyond and to the exclusion of a reasonable doubt, that your driving was not related to work, or to other legitimate purposes.5
1. Allart v. State, 9 Fla. L. Weekly Supp. 499c; State v. Quiroli 9 Fla. L. Weekly Supp. 780b
2. Internal Memorandum from the “Department of Safety and Motor Vehicles” Titled Subject Definition of “Business Purposes Only” Restriction Placed, Placed on Florida Driver License.
3. Allart v. State, 9 Fla. L. Weekly Supp. 499c; State v. Quiroli 9 Fla. L. Weekly Supp. 780b
4. U.S. Const. amend. V.
5. DISCLAIMER. IF YOU ARE CAUGHT DRIVING ON DAYTONA BEACH, WITH A COOLER FULL OF BEER IT MAY BE VERY DIFFICULT TO OVERCOME THE OFFICER’S TESTIMONY AND OBSERVATIONS. SAME APPLIES IF YOUR RESIDENCE IS ORLANDO AND YOU GET STOPPED IN MIAMI.