At The Musil Law Firm we often receive questions about the driving privileges under a Business Purposes Only restricted driver’s license in Florida as defined by Florida Statute 322.271-1. Often, a restricted license is a result of a D.U.I. or other driving related offenses. Clients often ask if they are permitted to obtain groceries, attend church, or even go to a restaurant. Below we will answer some of the more common issues that come up. We hope that this information will be a starting process to find the answers to your particular questions. Please understand that these laws may change often and every cases is different, which is shy you should always contact a qualified Central Florida Criminal Defense Lawyer.
L et us look at a few common scenarios and questions that come up regarding a BPO Florida Driver’s License:
- Is it permissible to drive to an Alcoholics Anonymous counseling meeting with a Business Purposes Only restricted driver’s license in Florida as defined by Florida Statute 322.271-(c)1. (B.P.O. hereinafter)?
- Is it permissible to drive one’s child to daycare, school, doctor, church or other essential destination with a B.P.O. license?
- Is it permissible to drive to a grocery store to obtain food with a B.P.O. license?
Executive Summary of Answers:
- Yes, it is permissible to drive to an Alcoholics Anonymous counseling meeting with a B.P.O. license as counseling falls under the medical purposes driving clearly outlined by the statute as permissible.
- Yes, it is permissible to drive one’s child to daycare, school, doctor, church or other essential destination with a B.P.O license. The driving privilege permits any driving necessary to maintain livelihood. Florida Courts have interpreted this privilege broadly enough to include the essential driving of dependants. Further, child care is necessary in order to sustain employment and therefore to maintain livelihood, which again is directly permissible by the statute.
- Yes, it permissible to drive to a grocery store to obtain food with a B.P.O license. Maintaining livelihood in general sense includes feeding oneself and Florida’s Courts have interpreted this to include even obtaining food at fast food restaurants such as Burger King and McDonald’s.
To best answer the above questions, one must first review the Statute that describes B.P.O. Licenses. Florida Statute 322.271(c)1. states 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.
Many people often become confused by the common name of “Business Purposes Only” applied to this restriction – believing or misunderstanding that the permission to drive is related to running a business or to employment only. In fact, a B.P.O. license is substantially different from a much more restrictive “Employment Purposes Only “ license as defined in Florida Statute 322.271(c)2 which states as follows:
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.
Interpreted broadly, the B.P.O. license permits any necessary driving to maintain livelihood – essentially most driving outside of recreation and non-essential driving ; while an “Employment Purposes Only “ license only permits driving to and from work and on-the-job driving.
Answer to Question 1.
Is it permissible to drive to an Alcoholics Anonymous counseling meeting with a Business Purposes Only restricted driver’s license in Florida as defined by Florida Statute 322.271-(c)1?
Yes, it is permissible to drive to an Alcoholics Anonymous Counseling meeting with a driving privilege restricted to business purposes only. Florida Statute 322.271(c)1. Specifically permits driving related to “medical purposes”. Counseling related to a medical condition such as Alcoholism falls under medical purposes.
It is a basic rule of statutory construction that in the absence of a statutory definition, words of common usage are to be construed in their plain and ordinary sense and, if necessary, the plain and ordinary meaning of a word can be ascertained by referring to a dictionary.
The definition of the word “Medical” found in Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary includes “of or relating to the treatment of diseases and injuries : of or relating to medicine”. The definition of the word “Alcoholism” found in Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary is “a medical condition in which someone frequently drinks too much alcohol and becomes unable to live a normal and healthy life.” Since Alcoholics Anonymous Counseling meetings deal with the treatment of Alcoholism, the two definitions of Medical and Alcoholism clarify that under the plain sense of the words “medical purposes” one may use their B.P.O. license to attend Alcoholics Anonymous Counseling meetings.
Answer to Question 2.
Is it permissible to drive one’s child to daycare, school, doctor, church or other essential destination with a B.P.O license?
Yes, it is permissible. In Britt v. State, 50 Fla. Supp. 2d 16, 17 (9th Jud. Cir., 1991) Orange and Osceola, a Florida Circuit Court ruled essentially that the driving permitted by Florida Statute 322.271(c)1 extends not only to the license holder, but also to the driving of his or her non-driving dependents. In the Britt case the driver was ticketed for violating the B.P.O. restriction for driving his Fiancé from her place of employment. In that case, the court agreed that the term “livelihood” included transporting the appellant’s Fiancé to and from her employment, especially since she only possessed a learner’s permit. The court further ruled that any reasonable doubts concerning the meaning of this statute must be resolved in favor of the Appellant. Id. Based on this Court ruling it becomes clear that one is permitted to drive one’s child to essential places as the driver himself or herself is permitted to do so for their own purposes. Further, a parent is legally responsible for the livelihood and well being of their child (Florida Statute 39.001(7)) which includes ensuring proper supervision of the child while the parent is at their place of employment. Taking the child to a daycare, school; or even a camp with the purpose of providing daycare; is a necessity in order to maintain not only the livelihood of the child, but also the parent/ driver. This reasoning can be applied to any other essential driving of one’s child.
Answer to Question 3.
Is it permissible to drive to a grocery store to obtain food with a B.P.O. license?
Yes, it is permissible for a driver with a B.P.O. license to drive to obtain food. A Florida Circuit Court ruled in State v. Quiroli, 9 Fla. L. Weekly Supp. 780b (15th Jud. Cir., Sep 12 2002) Palm Beach , that the term livelihood should be interpreted to mean support which includes housing, feeding, clothing, health etc. In that case, the court ruled that driving to a Burger King fell under the feeding aspect of support and livelihood and was therefore permissible. The Court in Allart v. State, 9 Fla. L. Weekly Supp. 499c (6th Jud. Cir., 2001) Pinellas and Pasco, reached a similar conclusion where it ruled that driving to a McDonald’s for food was also permissible.
This reasoning can be applied to not only fast food restaurants but places such as grocery stores that contain a broader range of food and other necessities.
If you would like a specific letter of opinion for your particular driving needs, please Contact Criminal Defense Lawyer Mario Musil.