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.