Driving after imbibing alcoholic beverages is never a good idea. Drinking and driving is a high-risk activity that often impacts the lives of those who drive impaired, their families, and everyone they share the road with. Alcohol was a factor in the accident-related deaths of more than 10,400 people in 2016. Its ties to thousands of deaths each year makes driving under the influence one of the most serious offenses in the state of Florida.
DUI enforcement is a top priority for police departments throughout Florida. A person arrested for DUI with a BAC at or above 0.08% will automatically have his or her license suspended for a minimum of six months. He or she will be issued a temporary driving permit that lasts ten (10) days. In that time, the driver has just ten days to appeal his or her license suspension by requesting a formal review hearing.
Requesting a Formal Review Hearing
If you received a yellow traffic ticket after a DUI arrest, this ticket serves as your temporary ten-day driving permit starting on the day you were arrested. During this time, you may only drive to and from work or for medical appointments and other necessities. Your full driving privileges will be limited unless and until you successfully challenge your license suspension.
You should apply for an Administrative License Suspension Review Hearing with the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles as soon as possible after your arrest and before the end of the ten days. An experienced DUI lawyer in West Palm Beach can help you make the most of this hearing and fight to have your DUI charge dropped or reduced.
Sometimes, challenging the administrative license suspension is not successful, or a driver fails to request a hearing on time. When this happens, the Florida DHSMV will uphold the initial license suspension. If you are ultimately convicted of DUI, your driver’s license may be suspended for an extended period; however, it may be possible to apply for a hardship license.
Length of Driver’s License Suspension After a DUI Conviction
The amount of time the state of Florida will impose a license suspension varies on how many DUI convictions you have received.
- A person who is convicted of his first DUI will have his or her license suspended for a period of 180 days to one year.
- Anyone who receives a second DUI conviction within five (5) years of his first may have his license suspended for five years.
- A person with a third DUI conviction within ten (10) years of the first two convictions may have his license suspended for ten years.
The Department of Motor Vehicles will reinstate your license after you have served the suspension and fulfilled any other penalties associated with your offense; however, you could reduce the period of suspension or avoid a suspension when you enlist the counsel of a lawyer who focuses on resolving DUI cases in West Palm Beach. The sooner you talk to a DUI defense lawyer about your case, the better the possible outcome may be.
Applying for a Hardship License
Even if your attempt to challenge the administrative suspension failed, you may still be eligible for a Florida hardship license. This type of license provides limited driving privileges. There are two types of hardship licenses you can apply for:
- Business Purposes Only License
- Work Purposes Only License
A hardship license for business purposes only allows you to drive to and from activities related to your livelihood. This includes your commute to and from work or school, driving on the job, and driving for doctors’ appointments.
A hardship license for work purposes only restricts your driving privileges to employment-related driving.
To be eligible for a hardship or restricted license, you must show the court that you intend to pay for your actions. You might need to take the following steps before you can regain limited driving privileges:
- Enroll in and complete a state-approved DUI program
- Complete community service, if mandated
- Prove you have bodily injury liability insurance
- Attend all court dates
- Pay all fees associated with your DUI conviction
- Serve probation, if mandated
- Install an ignition interlock device, if mandated
Hardship License Hearings
If you are eligible to apply for a hardship license, you will need to attend a hearing at the DHSMV. The hearing officer will review your case and determine whether you truly need a hardship license. Often, those who stand to lose their jobs because they can’t legally drive are considered for a hardship license. If you are approved for a hardship license, you will then need to go with the approval letter to your local DMV to get a real driver’s license. You must also complete DUI school within 90 days of receiving the hardship license.
After completing all of the above, you will need to fill out various forms and pay additional fees to reinstate your Florida driver’s license. Reinstating a license after a DUI conviction is an expensive and complicated ordeal. See how a local DUI lawyer can refine the process.
Protect Your License with Top DUI Defense in West Palm Beach
Life after a DUI conviction doesn’t need to be as challenging as the courts make it seem, but it takes fighting the state every step of the way to protect your freedoms. Attorney Brian Gabriel of the Law Office of Gabriel & Gabriel has helped people throughout Palm Beach County fight all kinds of DUI charges throughout his 25-year career and has obtained many successful results.
Contact our firm by calling 561-622-5575 or complete our contact form for a free consultation to find out what Mr. Gabriel can do for you.