If you are arrested for Driving Under the Influence in the State of Florida you have 10 days to make a decision regarding your driver’s license. Now there are two types of license suspensions that will affect your ability to drive during a DUI.
DHSMV Administrative Suspension
The first one is an administrative suspension through the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles that will occur before your pending criminal cases are resolved. The other type of license suspension is through the criminal courts and only comes into play if you are convicted of driving under the influence. The administrative suspension through the DHSMV will begin 10 days from the date of your arrest. The length of that suspension will either be for six months if you provided a breath sample that was over the legal limit or for twelve months if you refused to provide a breath sample.
During that 10-day period, you have three options, first if this is your first alcohol-related incident you can waive your right to a formal review hearing regarding your license suspension and receive a hardship license. If you have a prior DUI conviction or suspension you will not be eligible to just waive the formal review hearing and apply for a hardship license.
Now a hardship license will allow you to drive to and from work, for work purpose or to school. If you want to waive that formal review hearing and apply for a hardship you must enroll in the DUI school and have a hardship hearing. If approved for a hardship license, then you can go to your local DMV and pay to reinstate your license.
Administrative Review Hearing
The second option you have is to challenge the basis of your suspension by having a formal review hearing with an administrative review hearing officer. You have the right to be represented by an attorney at the hearing who can make specific motions and or objections on your behalf in an attempt to have your license suspension invalidated.
If successful your driving privilege will be restored while your criminal case is pending. However, if you are not successful at the formal review hearing then you will be subjection to a period of “hard time” which means no driving.
The hard time period is again dependent on whether you provided a breath sample or did not provide a breath sample. If you provided a breath sample the hard time period is 30 days, if you did not provide a sample then the period is 90 days. If you have a prior refusal then your suspension will be for 18 months instead of 12 months and you will not be eligible for a hardship license during that 18-month period.
The third option is to do nothing, which means your hard time suspension will begin at midnight on the 10th day.
The other potential license suspension would come into play if you are convicted of driving under the influence. Generally speaking for a first offense DUI the license suspension is between six to twelve months, if you have an enhanced breath alcohol level of above a 0.15 then the suspension could be between twelve to twenty-four months.
First, it is important to know that any suspension imposed by the criminal court would generally run concurrent or with any suspension imposed by the DHSMV versus being in addition to a suspension imposed by the DHSMV. Second, you may be eligible to receive another hardship license during this suspension as well. What a person would need to do is complete the appropriate DUI school and then apply for a hardship license. You will have to have another hardship hearing which typically cost $25 and then if approved will again have to go down to your local DMV to have your license reinstated to that restricted use status.
Just because you have been arrested or convicted of a DUI and have a license suspension does not mean necessarily mean you won’t be able to drive during that period of time. It is important to know your options, at Meldon Law we know we have the knowledge and experience to assist you whether you want to apply for a hardship license or whether you want to challenge the license suspension at a formal review hearing.
Contact an Experienced DUI Defense Lawyer
If you were arrested for a DUI in South Florida, let our seasoned DUI defense attorneys guide you through the suspension and criminal process and minimize your penalties. Contact our skilled legal team at Meldon Law online or call at (954) 334-1276 for a free case evaluation to learn about your rights and discuss your next steps.