final until disposition of any timely and authorized motion
under Fla. R. App. P. 9.330 or 9.331.
appeal from the County Court for Alachua County. Walter M.
Thomas, Public Defender, Lori A. Willner, Assistant Public
Defender, Tallahassee, for Appellant.
Jo Bondi, Attorney General, Sharon S. Traxler, Assistant
Attorney General, Tallahassee, for Appellee.
John Eugene Williams, III, challenges in these consolidated
cases his convictions for violating section 322.34(2)(b),
Florida Statutes (2016), which makes it a first-degree
misdemeanor for a person, except a habitual traffic offender,
to obtain a second conviction for driving a motor vehicle
while knowing that his or her driver's license or driving
privilege has been canceled, suspended, or revoked. Appellant
contends that the trial court erred by denying his motion to
dismiss the charges because the only offense with which he
can be charged is driving without a valid driver's
license given that he is a habitual traffic offender and he
has never had a Florida driver's license and does not
fall within a statutory exemption to the licensure
requirement. For the foregoing reasons, we agree and,
therefore, reverse and remand.
entered a plea of no contest to two charges of violating
section 322.34(2)(b), while expressly reserving his right to
appeal the denial of his motion to dismiss the charges. In
his motion to dismiss, filed pursuant to Florida Rule of
Criminal Procedure 3.190(c)(4), Appellant argued that he
could only be charged with driving without a valid
driver's license because he was a habitual traffic
offender and he did not have a driver's license or
driving privilege. Specifically, Appellant contended that he
did not have a driving privilege because he did not have a
Florida driver's license and he did not fall within a
statutory exemption to the licensing requirement. The State
did not dispute Appellant's status as a habitual traffic
offender and admitted that he has never had a driver's
license. The trial court denied the motion upon finding that
a person who has never been issued a driver's license by
any government nevertheless has a driving privilege that can
be suspended or revoked and that such person can, therefore,
be convicted under section 322.34(2). The court reasoned that
Appellant's interpretation of the statutorily undefined
term "driving privilege" in section 322.34(2)
allows persons who have never had a driver's license to
escape punishment due to imprecise statutory drafting,
elevates an unlicensed driver to a legally superior position
over a licensed driver, and contravenes the Legislature's
intent to foster public highway safety.
recognizing that there was support for Appellant's
interpretation in the case law and in chapter 322, the trial
court certified the following two questions as being of great
1: Does a person who has never had a driver's license
issued to them by any government (state, federal, or
foreign), and who is not exempt under section 322.04, have a
'driving privilege' in the State of Florida?
2: If the answer to Question One is no, can that person
nonetheless be convicted of DWLSR, in violation of either
section 322.34(1) or section 322.34(2), if
DHSMV[ has suspended or revoked that person's
privilege to obtain a valid driver's license?
jurisdiction pursuant to Florida Rules of Appellate Procedure
9.030 and 9.160, and we rephrase the certified questions as
follows: Does a person who has never had a Florida
driver's license and who is not exempt from the licensing
requirement under section 322.031 or section 322.04, Florida
Statutes, have a "driving privilege" such that he
or she can be convicted under section 322.34(1) or section
322.34(2), Florida Statutes? We answer the rephrased
certified question in the negative.
purpose of a motion filed pursuant to Florida Rule of
Criminal Procedure 3.190(c)(4) is to determine whether the
undisputed facts the State will rely on establish a prima
facie case, as a matter of law, so as to permit a jury
to find the defendant guilty of the charged crime. State
v. Depriest, 180 So.3d 1099, 1100 (Fla. 1st DCA 2015). A
trial court's ruling on a motion to dismiss is reviewed
de novo. Id. Questions of statutory
construction are also reviewed de novo. W. Fla.
Reg'l Med. Ctr., Inc. v. See, 79 So.3d 1, 8 (Fla.
polestar of statutory construction is legislative intent.
Id. at 8. To discern legislative intent, the court
must first look to the plain and obvious meaning of the
statute's text, which may be discerned from a dictionary.
Id. at 9. If the statutory language is clear and
unambiguous, the court must apply that unequivocal meaning
and may not resort to the rules of statutory construction.
Id. The court must give full effect to all statutory
provisions and avoid readings that would render a part of a
statute meaningless; additionally, the court may not construe
an unambiguous statute in a way that would extend, modify, or
limit its express terms or its reasonable and obvious
implications. Bennett v. St. Vincent's Med. Ctr.,
Inc., 71 So.3d 828, 838 (Fla. 2011). If an ambiguity
exists, however, the court should look to the rules of
statutory construction to help interpret legislative intent.
See, 79 So.3d at 9.
as otherwise authorized in [chapter 322, titled 'Driver
Licenses'], a person may not drive any motor vehicle upon
a highway in this state unless such person has a valid driver
license issued under this chapter." § 322.03(1),
Fla. Stat. (2016); see also § 322.39(1), Fla.
Stat. (2016) ("It is a misdemeanor for any person to
violate any of the provisions of this chapter, unless such
violation is declared to be otherwise by this chapter or
other law of this state."). Sections 322.031 and 322.04
set forth exceptions to the Florida driver's license