Convention on International Road Traffic

International Driving Permit

International Driving Permit Pursuant to the Convention on International Road Traffic

Convention on International Road Traffic, How to Turn a Misdemeanor into an International Conflict

If you practice criminal law in South Florida, you will defend people who are not residents or citizens of the United States.  Treaties between the United States and various countries are fertile ground for finding affirmative defenses to some common criminal offenses.  Pursuant to Article VI, Clause 2 of the United States Constitution States “all Treaties made,or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, anything in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding.”  To put it simply, treaties between the United States and another country which are 1) signed by the President and 2) ratified by the Senate trump state law.

So what happens when a treaty, being the supreme law of the land, and state law conflict?  The answer is simple, the treaty prevails.  I have had the privilege of representing individuals who were not US Citizens or residents that were cited or arrested for having no valid Florida Drivers License.  All of them were in the United States on business and 3 of the 5 had an “International Driving Permit” in their possession.  An International Driving Permit(hereinafter “IDP”) is a document that arose out of the Convention on International Road Traffic.  It simply provides a translation of an individuals license in his or her native language into English.  It is important to note that an IDP may or may not be required for the affirmative defense under the treaty, but it is good to have.

The Convention on International Road Traffic permits an individual who is licensed in one of the signatory countries to legally drive in any of the other signatory countries without having to be re-licensed in that country.  Possession of a valid foreign drivers license from a signatory country is an absolute and complete defense to the charge of driving with no valid license because the treaty trumps Chapter 316 Florida Statutes.

Personally, I file this motion as a Motion to Dismiss under Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.190 for lack of probable cause.  The Judge dismissed the case for “no probable cause” in 4 out of the 5 cases in which I filed the Motion.  The one exception was an Israeli gentleman who did not have an IDP, but presented the court his drivers license from Israel.  Unfortunately, the Judge could read Hebrew and motion was denied because his Israeli drivers license had expired.   The case was later dismissed on other grounds.

Treaties are not just for traffic cases.  There are numerous treaties involving family law, criminal interrogation and enforcement of foreign civil judgments.  It is a good idea to see what treaties are on topic when you are representing a foreign nation.

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For additional information, please contact

The Law Offices of Michael A. Dye, PA, 1 E Broward Blvd #700, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301 (954)990-0525 or
The Law Offices of Michael A. Dye, PA, 2 S Biscayne Blvd, Miami, FL 33131 (305)459-3286