DUI License Suspension and Reinstatement
Make sure you protect your driving privilege and independence
When you’re arrested and charged with DUI in Florida, the consequences start immediately. One of the most significant consequences is suspension of your driver’s license. Without your driver’s license, it may become difficult for you to get to work, take care of your family, and meet other personal and professional obligations. If you drive on a suspended license, you face other civil and criminal penalties. Either way, you’re looking at a potential downward spiral of problems in your life – even if you are never convicted of DUI.
The way out of that downward spiral is to get an experienced Lakeland DUI defense attorney on your side right away. Don’t panic, and don’t take any reckless actions that will make your situation worse. Give me a call or use the online contact form to find out how I can help.
License suspensions when you’re pulled over for DUI
In Florida, if you are arrested for DUI and blow over 0.08 – the legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit for drivers over age 21 – then your driver’s license will be automatically suspended for six months.
Florida’s “Implied Consent” law means there are also consequences if you refuse the breath test. If you do not submit to the breathalyzer, then your license will be automatically suspended for one year. If you have a previous refusal, then a second refusal to submit to a breath test will lead to an 18-month suspension.
In either case, when your license is suspended, the officer will issue a temporary permit that is valid for 10 days from the date of arrest. This is a full driver’s license as long as you had a valid license at the time of your arrest. These suspensions are a matter of administrative procedure, separate and distinct from your actual criminal charges for DUI. However, the administrative hearing is an evidentiary gold mine where your court case can be won or lost.
Getting your license back after a DUI arrest
The clock starts ticking immediately after your license is suspended. You have 10 days from the date of arrest on your DUI ticket to make a decision:
- Request a Formal Review hearing, which is an opportunity to fight the administrative suspension before the Department of Motor Vehicles. If you win your Formal Review, you will not only get your license back, but also remove the suspension from your driving record. However, this also risks a “hard” suspension of your driving privilege which will stop you from driving for any reason.
- Waive the Formal Review hearing, which allows you to get an immediate hardship license also known as a business purpose only (BPO) license. This will allow you to drive to work, school, church, and medical appointments until your suspension is over and you can get your full driving privileges reinstated.
Which option is right for you depends on your life needs, the situation and the facts of your case. It’s important to remember that the formal review process isn’t just about your license suspension; it’s also an opportunity for your Lakeland DUI defense attorney to gather more evidence relevant to your charges, or to expose inconsistencies in the arresting officer’s testimony. Some inexperienced or lazy attorneys will tell you to just “waive the Formal Review” without discussing the positives and negatives of your case. Do not hire this type of lawyer who won’t fight for you. Your first call after an arrest should be to an experienced DUI defense lawyer who fights to win.
License suspension and reinstatement FAQ
Will my license be suspended immediately after a DUI in Florida?
Yes. If you are arrested for DUI, your driver license will be suspected effective immediately. This is called an administrative suspension. You will not be able to drive until you have contested the suspension and won, or have been granted a hardship license.
How long will my license be suspended after a DUI?
An administrative license suspension can last as long as 18 months. If you are convicted of DUI, the length of your license suspension will depend on different factors. These include the number of DUI convictions you have, whether you refused to take a breath test, and whether you were involved in an accident. Suspension can range from 6 months to 10 years or even longer.
How much does it cost to unsuspend my license?
You can apply for a hardship driver license or a full-privilege driver license once your license suspension period has ended. You will be required to take exams and pay an administrative fee, a revocation reinstatement fee, and license fees. Required fees increase for reinstatement after a second or subsequent conviction.
Get a Lakeland attorney who will fight for your driving privilege
When you’re facing a threat to your mobility and independence, you need the right attorney to advise you of your options and fight for your rights. For instance, if you’re facing a license suspension because you blew 0.08 or above, your attorney may question the test results themselves or question whether the officer had “probable cause” to request a breath test in the first place. If you’re facing suspension for refusing a test, we can argue probable cause or question whether you were advised of the consequences of refusal.
The key is to act quickly. Again, the clock is ticking on your legal options, and the consequences of a license suspension will start to accumulate right away. Don’t believe that you just have to take the suspension or apply for a hardship license. You have rights, and I can protect them. Call 863-688-4606 or use the online contact form to discuss your options with an experienced Florida DUI attorney.