First-Time DUI Offense and Driver’s License Suspension – Experienced Florida DUI Lawyer Explains the Facts
Have you been arrested for driving under the influence (DUI)? Are you worried about losing your license? Read on to learn your options when accused of a DUI in the state of Florida.
First-Time Offense General Guidelines
Understandably, first-time DUI offenders who face a potential driver’s license suspension have legitimate concerns about commuting to work or school. In addition to DUI fines, court costs, and increased car insurance rates, some people also worry about losing their job or having to drop out of school because of their loss of transportation.
Here are some general procedural guidelines to address license suspension concerns:
- Initial 10-day Permit. At the time of your arrest, the law enforcement officer likely took your license and gave you a DUI citation, which acts as a 10-day temporary driving permit. (Read the citation’s fine print.) Your car may also have been impounded for 10 days.
- General Suspension. After 10 days, a license may be suspended for 6 months to 1 year. A first-time DUI conviction carries a mandatory suspension of at least 180 days. However, a DUI arrest does not necessarily mean a conviction.
- Formal Review Hearing (FRH). You may gain more driving time by challenging the suspension and filing for an FRH within 10 days of the DUI citation. It is essential to file within the 10-day time limit. Until the FRH, you may be granted 4 to 5 weeks of business purpose only (BPO) driving.
- No Hearing or FRH Loss. If an offender does not file for or loses an FRH, the 6 months to 1-year suspension begins immediately. Only after 30 to 90 days of the suspension may the offender apply for a restricted BPO license upon completing “DUI School” or other required substance abuse evaluation.
- FRH Win. If you win the FRH, you may have your license reinstated without limitation.
- The Breath Test: Failure to take the breath test may cause your driver’s license to be suspended for more extended periods if you are later convicted of DUI. But, if you took the breath test and blew under the legal limit of .08 blood alcohol concentration (BAC), you will not lose your driver’s license immediately. For additional information, see more on the breath test.
- Business Purpose Only (BPO) Driver’s License: Generally, Florida permits application for a hardship BPO license for commuting to work or school only. You may be granted a four (4) to five (5) week BPO license while filing for an FRH. A first-time offender may also file for a BPO permit after losing an FRH after 30 to 90 days of suspension. For additional BPO information, see more on hardship licenses.
- Aggravating Factors: There are many “aggravating factors” that may result in a longer license suspension. Factors that may lengthen a DUI license suspension include causing an accident with property damage, personal injury, or death, having a minor present, or blowing an excessively high breath test (more than .15 BAC).
- “DUI School” and Evaluations. To apply for a BPO hardship license, expect to be required to successfully complete “DUI School” and other substance abuse evaluations. You may also be ordered to comply with recommendations, treatment, or other counseling as a result of any such evaluations before obtaining a BPO license.
- Second Time Offense is serious, and the stakes are high. A license may be suspended for at least 5 years if the conviction is within 5 years of the first conviction. Driving to work or school may be the least of your concerns for a second or subsequent conviction, as you’ll likely be looking at imprisonment of at least 10 days up to 1 year for a second conviction.
The best advice is to immediately consult with an experienced Meldon Law DUI attorney who will take timely action on your behalf. For more information, request a free copy of A DUI Guide for Alachua County.
For more information:
- I was recently arrested for DUI, and I am worried a driver’s license suspension will cause me to lose my job. How long can I drive? What should I do?
- Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles – DUI and Administrative Suspension Laws
Remember, the only sure way of avoiding the lifelong consequences of a DUI conviction is to not drink and drive!
However, if it is too late, do not make another mistake – hire an experienced DUI/DWI lawyer to represent you and do it ASAP, don’t wait! You can contact us today at 800-373-8000.
The experienced Trial Lawyers at Meldon Law are dedicated to preserving the rights of the accused.
Pictured above – Dan Weisman, Jeffrey Meldon, and Carey Meldon have a combined 60 years of legal experience representing people in Gainesville, Florida and Alachua County, Florida accused of DUI/DWI and other criminal charges. They wrote the DUI Guide for Alachua County – Ways to Possibly Avoid a DUI Charge or Conviction. Request your free copy today.
This free no obligation book, written by a team of experienced DUI defense criminal trial lawyers, gives insight into what a DUI charge is, ways the State can prove the charge, and possible legal defenses.
Being charged and convicted of DUI is best avoided by not drinking and driving! This book also gives information on what it takes to be over the legal limit, how alcohol affects the body, plus much, much more!