Hundreds of thousands of drivers in Florida lose their driving privileges each year for non-driving offenses or their inability to pay fines and fees. The State of Florida routinely suspends licenses for unpaid debts like child support and court fees. Knowing this, you may be wondering whether the state would suspend your license if you’re defaulting on your student loans.
It isn’t unheard of for the government to suspend a driver’s license for legal issues that do not reflect your ability as a driver. Sadly, this happens thousands of times a day in the majority of states. Florida is one of several states where you will not lose your driver’s license for defaulting on student loans; however, you might lose your professional license to practice health care.
The Power of Professional Licensing Boards
Professional licensing boards across the country have the power to suspend your license to practice your profession if you can’t pay back student loans. Today, about 25% of U.S. workers need a professional license to pursue their careers, whereas just 5% needed licenses in the 1950s. This is largely due to an increase in the number of professions requiring a license.
Professional licensing boards in several states can suspend the professional licenses of those who fail to repay student loans. Unfortunately, many professionals are unaware that they can lose their ability to earn an income if they default on state and/or government-issued student loans. With the cost of education skyrocketing, many college graduates are struggling to make regular payments. This problem quickly turns into a catch-22. If these young professionals cannot repay their loans while working, they will have an even more difficult time repaying them when they can’t make a living.
Only two states revoke all state-issued licenses, including driver’s licenses, for failing to pay student loans. These are South Dakota and Iowa. Otherwise, many states allow state licensing boards to suspend professional license over unpaid debts. Florida is one of five states that revokes the licenses of health care professionals only. The other states include Arkansas, California, Mississippi, and Minnesota.
The Consequences of Defaulting on Student Loans
Defaulting on your student loans, especially those issued by the state or federal government, can hurt your financial history. You could experience the following hardships:
- You can damage your credit
- Your wages may be garnished
- You can lose your professional license in Florida and other states
- You cannot choose a repayment plan
Today, there are more than 300 professions practiced in Florida which require a license. From electricians, plumbers, doctors, nurses, lawyers, real estate agents, accountants, engineers, and architects to interior designers, cosmetologists, travel agents, massage therapists, and teachers, it’s crucial to know whether your professional license might be taken away for defaulting on student loans.
In Florida, Statute §456.072 of the 2018 Florida Statutes provides that a healthcare professional can have their license suspended for failing to repay any loan granted by the state or federal government. The suspension lasts until new payment terms are agreed upon. When the license is restored, the professional is placed on probation until the loan is repaid. The professional may also face a fine of up to 10% of the defaulted loan amount.
Protect Your Florida Driver’s License
You may have recently been charged with driving with a suspended license with or without knowledge in Palm Beach County. If your license has been suspended by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, and you’re unsure why, the best course of action is to refrain from driving and contact a defense lawyer who focuses on traffic offenses.
When you reach out to the Law Office of Gabriel & Gabriel, our primary goal is to understand what led to your license suspension and help you clear your record so you can continue driving with a valid license. There are steps we can take together to reinstate your license; however, you should never pay the fine associated with a citation for driving with a suspended license because that is essentially a guilty plea. Come talk to Brian Gabriel, who has defended traffic offenses for more than 25 years, to see how he can help you keep your license. Call 561-622-5575 or complete our contact form.