As a result of your DUI arrest, your Driver License is subject to two separate suspensions:
1. Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicle Administrative Suspension
2. Criminal Suspension
Most importantly, you need to be aware of Florida’s Ten Day Rule regarding your right to fight the Administrative Suspension.
DHSMV Administrative Suspension
The first Driver License suspension you are subject to is imposed by the DHSMV and is known as an Administrative Suspension. This suspension is imposed if, after your DUI arrest, you either
1. Refused to submit to a breath, urine or blood test, or
2. 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 test, or if your BAC 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
You only have 10 days from the date of your arrest to request a formal review hearing with the Department of Motor Vehicles to contest the Administrative License Suspension and attempt to get your license back. If you fail to request the hearing with the 10-day period, your license will be suspended for 6 months, 1 year, or 18 months depending on the circumstances. It is important to contact our office within the 10-day period.
If a formal review hearing is requested within the mandatory 10 days of your arrest, you will be issued a temporary license that is good until seven days after the hearing. At midnight of the 7th day after the hearing, however, until we either receive notice that we won, or if the suspension is upheld, your license is suspended. If we have won your DHSMV hearing, you will have your full driving privilege. Otherwise, you only have 10 days to drive after you are arrested using your citation as a driving permit.
Obtaining a Hardship Driver License
If we are unable to successfully challenge the administrative suspension, you may still be eligible for a hardship license. To be eligible for a hardship license you must: (1) enroll in a DUI School, (2) serve the first 30 days of your administrative suspension for a first offense, and (3) provide proof of enrollment in a DUI school to your local DHSMV Administrative Review Office. The review office will then process your hardship license application. If the review office gives you approval to reinstate your license early for hardship purposes, you must then present this approval to your local driver license office. Finally, you must complete the DUI school within 90 days of being given the hardship license. Failure to complete the DUI school will result in cancellation of your hardship license until the DUI school is completed.
The Criminal Suspension is imposed by the Court. If you are eventually convicted of DUI, another mandatory 6 or 12 month suspension begins on the date of conviction and the judge will suspend your hardship license.
Criminal Suspension Periods
Depending on what you are charged with, the following criminal suspension periods would be imposed if eventually convicted. After that are the eligibility requirements for a hardship license if you were to experience a Criminal Suspension.
A. First Conviction: Minimum 180 days revocation, maximum 1 year.
B. Second Conviction Within 5 Years: Minimum 5 years revocation. May be eligible for hardship reinstatement after 1 year. Other 2nd offenders same as above.
C. Third Conviction outside of 10 Years: If the two previous DUI convictions were more than 10 years prior to the current conviction, then you are only facing a maximum of 1 year suspension. If one of the DUI convictions have occurred within 5 years of the current DUI conviction, then you are looking at a 5 year suspension
D. Third Conviction Within 10 Years: Minimum 10 years revocation. May be eligible for hardship reinstatement after 2 years.
E. Fourth Conviction, Regardless of When Prior Convictions Occurred) and Murder with Motor Vehicle: Mandatory permanent revocation. No hardship reinstatement.
F. DUI Manslaughter: Mandatory permanent revocation. If no prior DUI related convictions, may be eligible for hardship reinstatement after 5 years.
G. Manslaughter, DUI Serious Bodily Injury, or Vehicular Homicide Convictions: Minimum 3 year revocation.
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: Must complete DUI school and apply to DHSMV for hearing for possible hardship reinstatement. Mandatory ignition interlock device up to six months for BAC of .15 or higher, effective 07/2008.
• Second Convictions (or more): No hardship license except as provided below. Mandatory ignition interlock device for one year, effective 07/2008.
• Second Conviction Within 5 Years: (5 Year Revocation) May apply for hardship reinstatement hearing after one year. Must complete DUI school and remain in the DUI supervision program for the remainder of the revocation period.
• Third Conviction Within 10 Years: (10 Year Revocation) May apply for hardship reinstatement hearing after two years. Must complete DUI school and remain in the DUI supervision program for the remainder of the revocation period. Mandatory ignition interlock device for two years, effective 07/2008.
• DUI Manslaughter With No Prior DUI Related Conviction: (Permanent Revocation): May be eligible for hardship reinstatement after 5 years from date of revocation or from the date of term of incarceration provided the following requirements have been met: (1) Has not been arrested for a drug-related offense for at least 5 years prior to the hearing; (2) Has not driven a motor vehicle without a license for at least 5 years prior to the hearing; (3) Has been alcohol and drug-free for at least 5 years prior to the hearing; and (4) Must complete a DUI school and must be supervised under the DUI program for the remainder of the revocation period (failure to report for counseling or treatment shall result in cancellation of the hardship license).
• Manslaughter, DUI Serious Bodily Injury, or Vehicular Homicide Convictions: (3 Year Revocation): May immediately apply for hardship reinstatement hearing. Must complete DUI school or advanced driver improvement course.
-Christopher Atcachunas, Esq.