This article is for anyone facing a DUI arrest in Florida. We often find that clients have no idea that they are facing two completely separate yet connected set of repercussions. The first being criminal consequences. The second is the administrative suspension that the DMV will impose.
Typically, after you are arrested for DUI in Florida, you will have your license physically taken by the officer. The officer will then issue an administrative suspension of which you have ten (10) days from the arrest to request a formal review hearing. Within these ten (10) days, you ultimately have three options: do nothing, hire an attorney to hold a formal review hearing, or submit a request for a review hearing for immediate reinstatement of driving privileges.
Majority of those arrested for DUI do not understand the rules and stipulations of the citation.
For option number one, your citation is the most critical piece of information. It contains both your notice of the driving suspension as well as your ten (10) day driving permit. Following the ten (10) day period, you will face a hard suspension of driving privileges based on your case. If you submitted to a breathalyzer test and show a BAC of over .08, the hard suspension will last thirty (30) days. If you chose not to take the breathalyzer, blood test, or urine test, the hard suspension will last ninety (90) days. Following the hard suspension, you have the option to apply for a hardship license for work purposes. Regardless of your hard suspension, the total length of suspension is six (6) months from the arrest date. Even if you avoid a DUI conviction, the administrative suspension will stay on your driving record for seventy-five (75) years.
Option two, hiring a DUI defense attorney, is the only one that allows you to argue the validation of the suspension if a breathalyzer test was completed. From the date of arrest, you are issued a ten (10) day driving permit. Your attorney will then submit a request for a formal hearing review, granting you the right to a forty-two (42) day permit as long as your driving privileges were intact prior to the DUI arrest. If the administrative hearing is won, the suspension is considered invalid and disappears from your record. A duplicate license can then be issued, and all reinstatement fees will be waived. If the administrative hearing is lost, you will have a thirty (30) day hard suspension followed by a hardship license that is good for the remaining one-hundred (100) days. The administrative suspension will remain on your driving record for the next seventy-five (75) years. If the arresting officer or breathalyzer technician do not show up for the formal hearing, the suspension will be invalidated.
Option three is for those who submitted to a breath test leading to a DUI arrest. You have the option to request a review hearing for immediate reinstatement of driving privileges. If you have no prior DUI convictions, you have ten (10) days to enroll in and pay for DUI school as well as submit a request to the Bureau of Administrative Review. You will also be responsible to pay a twenty-five (25) dollar fee for the hearing as well as the reinstatement fee, if granted such. If this route is taken, you are able to avoid the thirty (30) or ninety (90) day hard suspension; but, there is no option to invalidate the suspension or remove it from your record.