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DUI Driver License Suspensions

As a result of your DUI arrest, your Driver License is subject to two separate suspensions and it is important that you know the difference between each type of suspension.

  1. The first is known as a DHSMV Administrative Suspension.
  2. The second is known as a Criminal Suspension.

Most importantly, it is imperative that you are aware of Florida's Ten Day Rule regarding your right to fight the DHSMV Administrative Suspension.

Florida DHSMV Administrative Suspension

The first Driver License suspension you are subject to is imposed by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles and is known as an Administrative Suspension. This suspension is imposed if, after your DUI arrest, you either

  • Refused to submit to a breath, urine or blood test, or
  • Submitted to a breath, urine or blood test and your blood alcohol level was found to be .08 or higher.

If you refused to submit to a BAC/BAL test, or if your BAC/BAL was over .08 your Driver License will be suspended for either 6 months, 1 year, or 18 months from the date of your arrest. If your license is suspended for either reason, you will be issued a temporary driving permit that expires at midnight on the 10th day following the date of your arrest.

Florida's Ten Day Rule

We only have 10 days from the date of your arrest to request a Formal Review Hearing with the DHSMV to contest your Administrative Driver's License Suspension.

If you do not hire me within the ten-day period, I will be unable to request a Formal Review Hearing. If this happens, your license will be suspended for up to 18 months depending on the facts of your DUI case. So it is critical that you contact me within this 10-day period.

If we timely request a Formal Review Hearing, I will be able to obtain a Temporary Driving Permit from the DHSMV that will allow you to drive under a business purposes only restriction for the next 42 days. During that 42 day period, I will schedule your Formal Review Hearing to challenge the DHSMV's administrative suspension of your driver's license.

If I prevail in your Formal Review Hearing, you will be eligible to resume normal driving pending the resolution of your criminal case.

However, if I am unsuccessful and the suspension is upheld, your driver's license will remains suspended for at least another six months (possibly more if your DUI has aggravated facts). If this is the case, you will need to understand and abide by the rules for obtaining a hardship driver's license.

Obtaining a Hardship Driver License

If I am unable to successfully challenge the administrative suspension, you may still be eligible for a hardship license if you meet the following criteria:

  1. Have never been criminally convicted of more than two DUI offenses.
  2. Have completed (or be enrolled in) the DUI Counter Attack School, and
  3. Have served out the "Hard Suspension" period of your administrative suspension. The period is as follows:
    • 30 days for a BAC over .08, or
    • 90 days for a refusal to submit to a Blood or Breath Alcohol Content test.

If you meet these requirements you can request a Hardship Review Hearing after the hard suspension has expired. If you are given approval to drive for hardship purposes, you must then present the approval form to your local DHSMV and obtain a restricted driver's license.

Finally, you must complete the DUI school within 90 days of receiving the hardship license. Failure to complete the DUI school or any required substance abuse treatment will result in cancellation of your hardship license until the DUI school and treatment is completed.

At the time of your license reinstatement you must take the required examination, pay a administrative fee, a reinstatement fee, and any license fee required. Additionally, you must show proof of liability insurance on the arrest date and proof of current liability coverage.

Criminal Suspension

As previously mentioned, there are two suspensions involved with a DUI charge, the Administrative Suspension imposed by the Florida DHSMV and the Criminal Suspension imposed by the Court. Unfortunately, if you are criminally convicted of DUI, a secondary and mandatory suspension begins on the date of your conviction. And, if you obtained a hardship driver's license, the judge will seize that license.

Criminal Suspension Periods

Depending on the degree of the DUI you are facing, the following criminal suspension periods would be imposed if you were convicted. After that are the eligibility requirements for a hardship license if your were to experience a Criminal Suspension.

  1. First Conviction: Minimum 180 days revocation, maximum 1 year.
  2. Second Conviction Within 5 Years: Minimum 5 years revocation. May be eligible for hardship reinstatement after 1 year. Other 2nd offenders same as above.
  3. Third Conviction outside of 10 Years: If the two previous DUI convictions occurred more than 10 years prior to the current conviction, then you are only looking at a maximum of 1 year suspension. If one of the DUI convictions occurred within 5 years of the current DUI conviction, then you are looking at a 5 year suspension
  4. Third Conviction Within 10 Years: Minimum 10 years revocation. May be eligible for hardship reinstatement after 2 years.
  5. Fourth Conviction, Regardless of When Prior Convictions Occurred) and Murder with Motor Vehicle: Mandatory permanent revocation. No hardship reinstatement.
  6. DUI Manslaughter: Mandatory permanent revocation. If no prior DUI related convictions, may be eligible for hardship reinstatement after 5 years.
  7. Manslaughter, DUI Serious Bodily Injury, or Vehicular Homicide Convictions: Minimum 3 year revocation. DUI Serious Bodily Injury having prior DUI conviction is same as “B-D” above.

Eligibility for Hardship License

Depending on the degree of DUI you were convicted of, the following requirements must be met in order to be eligible for a hardship license following a criminal suspension.

  • First Conviction: You must complete the DUI school and apply to DHSMV for a hearing to obtain a hardship license. If your BAC was .15 or higher, you would be required to install an Ignition Interlock device for the first six months of your hardship license period.
  • Second Convictions (or more): You may apply for a hardship reinstatement hearing after one year. Before applying, you must complete the DUI school and remain in the DUI supervision program for the remainder of the revocation period. You would be required to install an Ignition Interlock device on your vehicle for one year.
  • Second Conviction Within 5 Years: (5 Year Revocation) You may apply for a hardship reinstatement hearing after one year. Before applying, you must complete the DUI school and remain in the DUI supervision program for the remainder of your revocation period (If you miss, or fail to attend counseling or treatment your hardship license will be canceled). Prior to applying you cannot have consumed any alcoholic beverage or controlled substance or driven a motor vehicle for 12 months prior to your hardship reinstatement.
  • Third Conviction Within 10 Years: (10 Year Revocation) You may request a hardship reinstatement hearing after the first two years of your revocation. To apply, you must have completed the DUI school and remain in the DUI supervision program for the remainder of your ten-year revocation period. If given a hardship license, you would be required to install a ignition interlock device for the first two years.
  • DUI Manslaughter With No Prior DUI Related Conviction: (Permanent Revocation): You may be eligible for hardship reinstatement after 5 years from date of your revocation or from the date your release from prison, provided the following requirements are met:
    1. You have not been arrested for a drug-related offense for at least 5 years prior to the hearing;
    2. You have not driven a motor vehicle without a license for at least 5 years prior to the hearing;
    3. You have been alcohol and drug-free for at least 5 years prior to the hearing; and
    4. You complete the DUI school and are supervised under the DUI program for the remainder of the revocation period (Your failure to report for counseling or treatment will result in the cancellation of your hardship license).
  • Manslaughter, DUI Serious Bodily Injury, or Vehicular Homicide Convictions (3 Year Revocation): You may immediately apply for a hardship reinstatement hearing; however, you must complete the DUI school or advanced driver improvement course.

Contact DUI Defense Lawyer Richard Hornsby

Contact DUI Defense Lawyer Richard Hornsby for the DUI defense representation you deserve. The initial consultation is free and I am always available to advise you on the proper course of action to take.