What happens to my license after I am arrested for DUI?
Florida has some of the toughest DUI laws in the country. If you are arrested for DUI and provide a breath test result that is over a .08, your license will be suspended for six months by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV or commonly referred to as the DMV). If you refused to submit to a breath, blood or urine test, your license will be suspended for one year, or for 18 months if you previously refused to submit to a breath, blood or urine test and had your license suspended as a result (if this is your second or subsequent refusal you will also be charged in criminal court, in addition to your DUI, for refusing).
The moment you are arrested for DUI, your license will be confiscated by the arresting officer and you will be issued a Uniform Traffic Citation (traffic ticket). The citation serves as your temporary, 10-day license. The 10 calendar days start from the date of arrest. You will be allowed to drive on a restricted basis, or for business purposes only, meaning to and from work, shopping for groceries, going to church, court or your lawyer’s office.
From that point, you have 10 days to request a hearing with the DMV to fight the suspension of your license so that you may continue driving. If you request a formal review hearing and your license was valid at the time of arrest, you will be issued a permit to continue driving on a restricted basis, pending formal review, for an additional 42 days.
If you request a DMV hearing and the suspension of your driver’s license is upheld, you will have to serve a mandatory period of suspension, ‘hard time,’ before you are eligible for a restricted “Business Purposes Permit.” If you registered a reading above a .08, your license will be suspended for six months and you will have a 30-day period of hard time before you are eligible for a hardship license. If you refused to submit to a breath, blood or urine test, your license will be suspended for one year (for a first offense) and you will have to serve a 90-day period of hard time before you are eligible for a hardship license.
New Florida Law Allows You Waive Formal Review Hearing
Starting July 1, 2013, the Florida Administrative Suspension Laws changed in that you may be able to request a review of eligibility to obtain a “Business Purpose Only” permit to drive immediately. However, requesting eligibility review waives your ability to challenge the suspension of your license through a formal or informal review hearing.
Basically, you have three options following a DUI arrest if you have no prior DUI convictions, administrative suspensions or convictions for an alcohol or drug related offense:
- request an informal review hearing;
- request a formal review hearing; or
- request eligibility review hearing to obtain a “Business Purpose Only” permit (Note: you are waiving your right to a formal or informal review hearing if you request eligibility review).
Before waiving your right to a formal or informal review, speak to a DUI lawyer that will advise you of the pros and cons of doing so. Oftentimes formal review hearings are crucial to gaining valuable information relating to your criminal case as the arresting officer, breath test operator and other parties can be subpoenaed and forced to testify under oath about your DUI case.