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According to Florida Statues 322.15, It states;

License to be carried and exhibited on demand; fingerprint to be imprinted upon a citation.

Does this mean you only need to present the drivers license not hand it over?

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  • Are you willing to turn and position the license in any and every way the cop might want to look at it?
    – cHao
    Nov 9, 2017 at 20:41
  • From my understanding, you could just hold it to the window and it is considered "exhibited". There is no positional requirement written on law. Nov 9, 2017 at 20:42
  • The requirements say "with no portion of such license faded, altered, mutilated, or defaced", and the cop is within his rights to verify that those requirements are met. That means if he wants to see the back, for example, you must show the back. If he wants to look at it at a certain angle to ensure any watermark is intact, you must show it at that angle.
    – cHao
    Nov 9, 2017 at 20:46
  • Fair point, so does that mean that given you meet the P.O.'s inspection of the drivers license. That you do not need to hand it over? Nov 9, 2017 at 21:02

1 Answer 1

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Headings are not the statute. The wording there is for information only, and is all but guaranteed to sacrifice nuance for the sake of brevity. The actual requirements are in the contents of the statute.

And subsection (1) states:

(1) Every licensee shall have his or her driver license...in his or her immediate possession at all times when operating a motor vehicle and shall present or submit the same upon the demand of a law enforcement officer or an authorized representative of the department. A licensee may present or submit a digital proof of driver license as provided in s. 322.032 in lieu of a physical driver license.

A police officer is allowed to demand that you present or submit your license to him. "Present" and "submit" can both mean "give" in every dictionary i've yet checked. So absent a definition in Florida law, it looks like you have to hand it over.

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    @DigitalFire: Cops aren't usually trying to be hardasses, and they have stuff to do...so unless you've given them reason to suspect you're breaking the law in other ways, they're not always going to press the issue. Plus, a refusal to hand over your license looks like it'd count as a violation of that section, and therefore as a non-criminal traffic infraction. An obstruction charge would be a hell of a leap. As for "OR submit", it's irrelevant. "Present" can mean "give" too.
    – cHao
    Nov 9, 2017 at 21:33
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    "Presenting the license without handing it over" doesn't even exist as an option, if it is specified that "present" means "give".
    – cHao
    Nov 9, 2017 at 22:40
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    I get to that conclusion by actually reading the whole thing. The reversal was based not on whether the previous judgement was correct, but whether the case should have happened at all because of technical errors. The only case of the three that actually directly addressed your question, found the defendant in violation.
    – cHao
    Nov 9, 2017 at 23:10
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    Yeah. In the first case, the hearing officer didn't even bother with the question of whether a violation occurred, because once the validity of the license was confirmed, that court considered the question of violation moot. The second trial actually asked and answered the question. The third asked and answered the question of whether the city was allowed to bring the second trial.
    – cHao
    Nov 9, 2017 at 23:37
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    If you really want to read finely, failure to display in 322.15(2) gives rise to an obligation to provide a finger print, but it doesn't follow that the 322.15(1) requirement to present or submit isn't violated even if you do display and hence don't have to provide a finger print. As cHao aptly notes though, the only time the issue was litigated on the merits, the not hand it over position lost and there are no cases where it won.
    – ohwilleke
    Nov 10, 2017 at 3:00

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