The 10 Day Rule for a DUI in Florida

If you have been arrested for driving under the influence, one of the most serious aspects is the loss of your license. If your license is suspended for an extended period, then this can affect your job and your income. However, you can get your license back if you act fast and fight your DUI charge at a formal administrative hearing. You will find that hiring a Tampa DUI lawyer will help you get your license reinstated.

When you get charged with DUI in Florida, you will have 10 days to request a formal hearing with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). You can go to the hearing yourself, but it can be quite intimidating and it makes sense to hire a DUI lawyer to help you prepare your case for retaining your license. Once your request for a formal hearing has been made, the hearing has to be held within 30 days.

Why Your License Can be Suspended

When you are arrested for DUI, the police officer who does the arresting must do so for a reason. You were probably stopped at a road block or by an individual police car when you were driving along a highway. Police cannot just stop you on a whim. They must have a reasonable suspicion that you were doing something illegal. The officer who stops you will normally ask you a few questions and ask to see your license and registration papers. You may have to do some sobriety tests and even blow into a portable breathalyzer. If you refuse, you will be arrested for DUI, even if you haven’t had a drink. The police officer will then take you to a police station where you will have to take a chemical test for blood alcohol. If you refuse this test, your license can be suspended for a minimum of 12 months regardless of whatever happens to your DUI arrest.

The officers at the station may still charge you with DUI even if you have refused to take an alcohol test. They can use the results of the sobriety tests if they wish to, even if they are more subjective.

If you are charged with DUI, whether you have taken a blood alcohol test or not, your license will be suspended for 6 months at least. The actual length of time for a suspension depends on whether it is the first time you have been charged with DUI. If you have had previous convictions you could face longer periods of suspension coupled with requirements for DUI school and community service in order to get your license reinstated or get a temporary “hardship license”.

10 Days to Get a Formal Hearing

You will need to apply for a formal DMV review in writing within the 10 days after your arrest. You can use your license in that time and you will also be allowed to use your license up to the time of the hearing, which should be held within 30 days of receipt of your request.  This time period buys you time to sort out transport options in case you lose the hearing.

The hearing will be heard by a DMV officer and will look at evidence provided by law enforcement officers who arrested you. Your attorney can attend the hearing, if you find it inconvenient. The hearing is a civil matter and has no effect on the criminal trial for DUI. If the hearing finds that the evidence is insufficient to suspend your license, then you get it back immediately. If you lose the hearing, your period of suspension will resume.


How to Get a Hardship License After a DUI Charge in Tampa, Florida

A DUI charge is a serious charge in Tampa, Florida. Being convicted of DUI means that you have a lot of adjustments to make, including losing your driver’s license for a specified period. Our society is highly dependent on private transport and you may find it difficult to get to work, go shopping or visit relatives without a license. Even using public transport or being dependent on lifts can make life difficult and may even mean you are late for work and have to justify the reason.

By hiring a competent Tampa DUI lawyer you may be able to get a hardship license and continue to drive, either while you should wait to see if your lawyer can get your DUI charge thrown out or minimized, or afterwards if you are convicted of the charge. Whether you can get a hardship license and how long you can drive on it, depends on the seriousness of your charge and any prior convictions or if you refused an alcohol test when first arrested.

Your DUI lawyer will do his or her best to get you off the charge, especially if the way in which you were arrested and the possibility of irregularities in the way you were tested can be demonstrated.

Normally in Florida you will be given 10 days after the date of your arrest before a review hearing with the DMV in which you have time to hire a lawyer to represent you. Your right to seek a review will be removed if you don’t use the opportunity during this time. You will be able to drive in this 10 day period. The lawyer will set up a formal review hearing at which he or she will apply for you to have a hardship license for a further 42 days or until your trial takes place.

If you are convicted, and it is a first sentence in which nobody was injured in an accident, then normally your license will be suspended for six months. There will be an initial 30 days when you will be unable to drive at all. This is absolutely final and you won’t be able to do anything about it. After this period, you will be asked to attend another review in which your lawyer can ask for you to have a further hardship license. This may be granted if you are attending a DUI school.

If you have refused to take a breath test, whether you are convicted of DUI or not, then a similar suspension of your license will take place. The steps outlined above also apply in these circumstances, so a DUI lawyer must be hired within the first 10 days and the review may or may not waive the suspension depending on the evidence brought forward by your lawyer. If the suspension is sustained, you will have a 90 day final suspension for a first refusal and a 180 day suspension for a second refusal. During trhis time you will not be able to get a hardship license.

If the DUI charge is a second offense, your period of hard suspension will be increased, but your DUI lawyer may still be able to get you a hardship license after this period has finished. Your chances of getting a hardship license if you have injured anybody, or a fatality was involved, is highly unlikely.