In the state of Florida, a first offense for DUI will mean an automatic six-month (or longer) suspension of your driver’s license as detailed in Florida Statute §322.2615. From the time your license is suspended, you have exactly 10 days to request a license suspension hearing to fight the suspension.
DUI-Related Driver’s License Suspensions in Florida
In Florida, if you refuse to take a Breathalyzer test or if your blood alcohol content (BAC) reading is above the state’s legal limit of .08 then the officer will confiscate your license immediately, and issue you a temporary permit.
If convicted, your license can be suspended by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) for:
- a minimum of 180 days;
- up to one year for the first offense;
- up to five years for a second conviction within five years;
- up to ten years for a third conviction within ten years; and
- permanently for a fourth conviction.
Florida’s Rules Regarding License Suspension Hearings
From the time your license is suspended, you have exactly 10 days to request an administrative license suspension hearing after your arrest. The hearing is the only way to fight the charges and attempt to secure your driving privileges.
During this 10-day window, you will be allowed to legally drive because the DHSMV will have issued you a temporary 10-day permit. If you fail to request a license suspension hearing during this time then your license will be subject to revocation as detailed above, and usually for a period of six to 18 months.
Requesting a License Suspension Hearing
Those who have had their licenses suspended can send written requests within 10 days of being pulled over to ask the DHSMV to review the license suspension or revocation. Make sure that the request is filled out in full according to the list below.
The written request must include the following information:
- the driver’s name, address, driver’s license number, and date of birth;
- the date of suspension; and
- the county where the arrest/suspension took place.
Challenging the Suspension at the Hearing
You (or your attorney) will have an opportunity to argue the charges brought against you, and hopefully convince the judge that the DHSMV should invalidate your suspension. Your lawyer will also be able to request a longer, temporary driving permit that will allow you to drive for work purposes for up to seven weeks. At the end of that period, your hearing can take place.
If the DHSMV Upholds the License Suspension
If at the commencement of your license suspension hearing, the DHSMV decides to continue your suspension, your attorney can appeal the case or request a Hardship Driver’s License, which will allow you temporary driving privileges under certain conditions.
It’s important to note, however, that if this is your second or subsequent offense, or if your license was suspended because you failed to take the breath test, you will not be eligible for a Hardship Driver’s License.