Florida is known for its tropical climate, amusement parks, the Kennedy Space Center, and its miles and miles of beaches. Retirees consider the Sunshine State their number one choice of residence.
However, like almost all states in the country, Florida deals with everyday problems, and DUI (Driving Under the Influence) is one of these. As indicated in the data collected by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in 2019, Florida is right behind California in the most number of drivers involved in fatal crashes. This is why DUI is regarded as an offense under state laws, particularly if it is proven that the driver has .08-above breath or blood alcohol level.
When a person is arrested for DUI, Florida authorities institute fines – $500 to $2,000 for first offenders, and between $2,000 to $4,000 for those with a BAC of .15 or higher. Prison time, probation, and more or less 50 hours of community service are also implemented. Ignition interlock installation is also required, specifically for offenders who were convicted after July 01, 2002.
Offenders will also have their driving privileges revoked and their license suspended. They will only be able to drive again after their case is resolved. They can also apply for a restricted license for business purposes, but they will need to install an IID in their vehicle.
Conditions for License Suspension
If you’ve been convicted of DUI in Florida, your license will be suspended for a period of several months to the rest of your lifetime. However, this will depend on the circumstances of your case.
License suspension is legally carried out if:
Your blood or breath sample is over the .08 limit.
Florida’s legal BAC limit is .08. If your blood alcohol goes over this level, your license will be revoked, and you won’t be able to use it for six months. The suspension will be in effect ten days after you were arrested. Since this is an administrative case, you can still be convicted of criminal charges if you are proven guilty of the DUI charges filed against you.
You do not agree to a urine, blood, or breath test.
If you were stopped and suspected of DUI, you should freely submit to a breath test. While it is your legal right to refuse one, you will have to suffer the consequences – which, in this case, is the suspension of your driver’s license. Ten days after your arrest, your license suspension will start, and it will be good for one year.
If you refuse for the second time, the suspension will be longer at 18 months.
Tips for Getting Back Your License After a Florida DUI Conviction
In Florida, the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) handles license suspension and other administrative matters. You have to cooperate and coordinate with them. You will also have to work closely with a DMV office and your lawyer.
When you commit a DUI offense, you must face two cases: a civil administrative law case and a criminal case. A criminal case is more complicated and has heavier penalties, including prison time and probation.
A civil administrative case starts as soon as you are arrested. This is the part where your license is revoked/ or suspended.
Here are the things you should do if you want your driving privileges restored:
- You can demand a hearing to determine if the authorities were legally right to suspend your license. Your right to drive will be extended, and this is apart from the 10-day period indicated in your temporary license. It’s for a longer period – more or less six weeks. This temporary license is a BPO or Business Purpose Only license – one that you can use for limited purposes only
* to and from work/required on-the-job driving
* to and from school
* to and from the doctor
* to and from the church or other religious activities
There are two types of hearings for DUI arrests: the Formal Review Hearing and the Hardship License Hearing.
A Formal Review Hearing is what you undertake if you want to challenge the DHSMV’s suspension of your license. It is also a hearing to contest the 30 or 90-day no-driving period.
A Hardship License Hearing is what you need if you want to apply for a restricted license. This is typically undertaken if you lose the Formal Review Hearing and have served the hard suspension of at least 30 days.
- After serving your suspension, you have to visit the Florida DMV office in your area to get back your license. Some requirements depend on the circumstances of your case.
You’ll have to be prepared to pay all the administrative and reinstatement fees.
If the judge ordered it, you also have to complete a substance abuse treatment program, as well as a DUI school.
Authorities will also ask you for proof or a copy of your insurance. This is required by law, so you should provide it without hesitation.
Florida laws may have other laws aside from the ones indicated above, and you should adhere to them as well.
- Here are license reinstatement requirements according to the severity of conviction:
– After your 1st conviction: For your license to be reinstated, you must attend and finish DUI school first. You are also obligated to install an ignition interlock device for six months (if your BAC was over .15).
– After your 2nd conviction: If your license was suspended for five years, you could apply for reinstatement after a year. Ensure that you have completed DUI school, have proof that you have not had alcohol or drugs in the past year, and join a DUI supervision program. If your blood alcohol level was above .15 when you were arrested, you are to use an IID for two years.
– After your 3rd conviction: Your revocation period is for ten years, but you can start applying for reinstatement in the 2nd year. Again, you need complete attendance in DUI school, no intake of alcohol and drugs one year before you applied, and you should be an active participant in a DUI supervision program. Your vehicle should use an IID for two years.
– After permanent revocation of your privileges: Application for reinstatement is allowed only after five years. Aside from completing DUI school, attending a DUI supervision program, and using an ignition interlock device for two years, you should also have concrete evidence that you have not used alcohol and drugs, operated a motor vehicle, or been involved in substance-related incidents in the last five years.
Talk to a licensed and experienced DUI lawyer if you want to ensure that you’ll get back your driving privileges after a DUI conviction in Florida.
Call 305-644-1800 for IMMEDIATE help!
DO NOT risk your job, license and future!