Legal ramifications if my son took my car with only a learners permit?

by Brenda
(Okeechobee, FL)

My 17 year old son has had his learners permit for over a year and is a decent driver. He was told he could get his operators license once he got a part time job to cover the cost of insurance and fuel. But he took the car on a joyride 2 counties away.

Had he gotten into an accident, how would this have affected me? What if any penalties would he get pertaining to his permit?

I have searched the internet for consequences of driving with out an adult, and taking the vehicle without permission, but haven't found anything. I'm wondering what could have happened if he'd gotten pulled over and got a ticket, or worse yet, gotten into an accident? Thank you for any information you can provide.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Legal ramifications if my son took my car with only a learners permit?":

Brenda (Okeechobee, FL):

For legal purposes, you son is still a minor. As a result, in the unfortunate event your son had an accident, and the accident was a result of his negligence, you would likely be vicariously liable for the property damage and personal injuries sustained by third parties. This is true even if you did not give him permission to use the car.

Moreover, assuming your son received a ticket for driving with a learners permit, without an adult in the car he would have received "points" on his license.

According to the State of Florida's Department of Motor Vehicles, "All drivers' ages 15 to 17 years old must keep their Learners Permit free of points for 12 consecutive months before applying for a full driver's license. If a Learners Permit driver receives a ticket and wants to avoid the points, a DMV approved Florida Traffic School must be completed." The course is commonly called the four-hour Basic Driver Improvement course.

In addition to the above penalties, in the event your son received a ticket for driving in violation of the learners permit law, you may find it difficult to obtain car insurance. And if you can find an insurance company willing to insure your son, the premiums may be very high.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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