SUSPENDED LICENSE / HARDSHIP LICENSE
Chances are that if you live in Florida, you cannot live and work by solely relying on public transportation. You need a driver’s license to get around. Anytime a person is arrested for a DUI, a driver’s license suspension becomes an immediate and serious concern.
There are two forms of driver’s license suspensions on every DUI case. The first type is referred to as an administrative suspension. The second type is referred to as a criminal court driver’s license suspension. Both types of suspension have their own unique set of rules.
WHAT IS AN ADMINISTRATIVE DRIVER’S LICENSE SUSPENSION?
An administrative license suspension refers to a suspension by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV). There are two possible types of DHSMV suspensions when a person is arrested for a DUI. One possibility is if you blow a breath sample over the legal limit over a .08. The second possibility is if you refuse to provide a breath, blood or urine sample after a DUI arrest.
HOW LONG WILL YOU LOSE YOUR LICENSE IF YOU BLOW OVER A .08?
Your driver’s license is suspended for six (6) months if you blow a breath alcohol level above the .08 legal limit.
HOW LONG WILL YOU LOSE YOU LICENSE IF YOU REFUSE TO BLOW?
As mentioned above, your license will be suspended whether you refuse to provide a breath (blow), blood or urine sample. Regardless of whether it is a refusal of a breath, blood or urine sample, the length of the refusal suspension will not vary based upon the type of refusal. Your driver’s license will be suspended for twelve (12) months if this is your first refusal and for eighteen (18) months if this is a second refusal.
CAN YOU FIGHT THE DRIVER’S LICENSE SUSPENSION?
Yes, you can fight the driver’s license suspension by requesting a hearing. This hearing to fight the driver’s license suspension is called a formal review hearing. If you want to fight with a formal review, you only have ten (10) days from the date you were arrested to apply for a hearing to challenge the driver’s license suspension. If this deadline is missed, the driver’s license suspension takes effect and you cannot fight it.
WHEN SHOULD YOU FIGHT THE DRIVER’S LICENSE SUSPENSION?
This is a discussion that you should have with your lawyer based upon the factors of your life and individual case. If this is your first DUI arrest, you can waive a formal review hearing (right to fight the suspension) and obtain a hardship license immediately. This will ensure that you will, at a minimum, be allowed to drive for work. If this is your second DUI arrest, you will not be eligible to waive the formal review hearing and obtain a hardship license immediately. Generally, if you have been arrested for a DUI previously, then you should challenge the driver’s license suspension with a formal review hearing.
HOW DOES LICENSE SUSPENSION PROCESS WORK AFTER YOU ARRESTED FOR DUI?
After an arrest for a DUI, your license is suspended if you blow over a .08 or you refuse to provide a breath, blood or urine sample. You have a hardship license for ten (10) days following the date of the arrest. Your hardship license is the citation that you are given after you are arrested for a DUI. It is imperative that you carry this citation on you while you are driving around for the (10) days after you arrest. It is also important to keep in mind that this is a hardship license that has restrictions. You cannot use it to drive for any purpose. You can use it to driver yourself to and from work.
If you decide to apply for a formal review hearing, this hearing will take place about a month later and you can obtain another hardship license for forty-two (42) days while the process for the formal review hearing is pending.
Once the hearing takes place, your attorney will be sent the results of the hearing in the mail. If your attorney wins the hearing, then the driver’s license suspension is lifted, and you get your full regular driver’s license back. If you lose, then the driver’s license suspension takes effect.
CAN YOU GET A HARDSHIP LICENSE? BUSINESS PURPOSES LICENSE?
If depends on if this is your first or second DUI. If this is your second DUI, you will not be eligible for a hardship. Since you are not eligible for a hardship license on a second DUI, you might as well fight the suspension at a formal review hearing because you have nothing to lose.
If this is your first DUI, you can get a hardship license. As discussed above, if this is your first DUI, then you can waive the formal review hearing and obtain a hardship license immediately and have it for the entirety of the suspension period. If this is your first DUI and you request a formal review hearing and lose the hearing, then there will be a period of NO driving (NO hardship license). There will be no hardship license for thirty (30) days if you blew over a .08. There will be no hardship license for (90) ninety days if you refused. After either of the periods with no hardship license, you can obtain a hardship license for the remainder of the suspension.
WHERE CAN YOU DRIVE WITH A HARDSHIP LICENSE?
You can use a business purposes hardship license to drive to work, doctor’s office visits, school, and to get food.
WHAT IS A COURT ORDERED DRIVER’S LICENSE SUSPENSION?
A criminal court order suspension is the second type of suspension (the first being an administrative suspension). This will only occur after there is a conviction for DUI. If there is no DUI conviction, then there is no court ordered suspension Again, this highlights the importance of having a great DUI defense lawyer fighting for you. A criminal court driver’s license suspension ranges from six (6) months to a permanent suspension. The length of the criminal court driver’s license suspension will depend on if the conviction is for a first DUI, second DUI, third DUI, or fourth or subsequent DUI. A criminal court driver’s license suspension ranges from six (6) months to a permanent suspension. Whether you will eligible for a hardship license during the court order suspension will, again, depend on whether the conviction is for a first DUI, second DUI, third DUI, or fourth or subsequent DUI.
Keller, Melchiorre & Walsh has three former prosecutors who handle DUI driver’s license suspensions. As DUI defense lawyers, we know and understand how valuable your ability to drive is. When you can’t drive, you can’t work to support yourself or your family. Just because you are arrested for DUI does not mean that you should no longer be able to work and financial support yourself and your family. We can help you obtain a hardship license or fight to challenge your license suspension because we know the importance and we have the expertise. We have helped our clients through these difficult times. Call us as we are equipped and experienced to handle these matters in Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, Martin and St. Lucie Counties.