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Can I Keep My Driver’s License After a DUI Charge in Florida?

If you have been charged with a DUI in Tampa and want to keep your driver’s license, the first thing you must understand is that you only have ten days to act. After ten days, you’ll suffer a hard suspension of your license, which means that you cannot drive for any purpose for a set period of time – typically thirty or ninety days.

But what are you supposed to do to protect your license after a Florida DUI? You basically have three options, which we will discuss below.

In the meantime, it’s extremely important that you speak with a Tampa DUI attorney at Hersem Law as soon as possible. We’ll help you weigh the options you have for fighting to keep your license after a DUI in Florida. Once you’ve selected the best option for you, we will fight on your behalf to help you keep your driving privileges. 

Option 1: Do Nothing

Doing nothing is almost never a good option. Still, let’s take a look at what will happen to your driver’s license if you do nothing after a DUI in Florida.

After ten days have passed, you will be subjected to a license suspension. If you refused to take a sobriety test, your license will automatically be suspended for one year and you will have a hard suspension for the next ninety days. If you were found to be driving with an unlawful breath alcohol level (DUBAL), your license will be suspended for six months and you will have a hard suspension for the next thirty days.

After the thirty- or ninety-day hard suspension (and enrollment in DUI school), you can request a hardship license, which will allow you to drive for business purposes for the remainder of your suspension. 

For many people in the Tampa Bay area, a one- to three-month license suspension is not an option. That’s why doing nothing is likely not a good idea in your situation.

Option 2: Request a Hearing

An attorney at Hersem Law can help you challenge the potential administrative suspension of your driver’s license. If you challenge the suspension within ten days of being arrested, you may be eligible for a temporary license that lasts for forty-two days.  This “hardship permit” is meant to allow you to drive for business purposes while the challenge to your suspension takes place.

Within a month of our request, a hearing will be scheduled. At this hearing, the State will need to prove the following:

  • For a DUBAL case: 
    • That the officer had probable cause to believe that you were driving or actual physical control of a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol to the point that your normal faculties were impaired; and 
    • That your blood or breath alcohol level was higher than .08
  • For a Refusal case:
    • That the officer had probable cause to believe that you were driving or actual physical control of a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol to the point that your normal faculties were impaired; and 
    • That you refused to submit to a lawful test of your blood, breath, or urine; and 
    • That you were told that by refusing to submit, your license would be suspended for a period of twelve months on a first refusal or eighteen months on a second or subsequent refusal.

Keep in mind that the State must prove the above elements by a lower standard than what is required in criminal cases.  The burden of proof for criminal cases is “beyond a reasonable doubt”, which is the highest burden in the law. However, the burden of proof at the administrative hearing is “by the preponderance of the evidence”, which basically means “more likely than not”.  This burden is important to understand prior to making your decision on whether or not to challenge the suspension, as the lower burden leads to very low success rates across the board at DMV Hearings.

On the positive side, however, if you and your Hersem Law attorney are successful at this hearing then the administrative suspension of your license will be completely removed from your record and your license immediately reinstated.

Option 3: Waive Your Right to a Hearing

Your third option is to waive your right to a formal review hearing and immediately get a hardship license that will allow you to drive for “business purposes” during your suspension period. To be eligible for this option, you must enroll in DUI school and obtain proof of your enrollment to show to the Bureau of Administrative Reviews within ten days of your arrest.  If you choose this option, your Hersem Law DUI attorney will give you detailed instructions with the exact steps you need to take in order to get your hardship license within the ten day period.

The downside to this option is that it forfeits your ability to have the entire suspension thrown out. Additionally, unless you are later found “not guilty” after trial on your DUBAL case (Refusal cases will always remain on your record), the administrative suspension of your Florida driver’s license will automatically remain on your record, even if your criminal charge is later reduced or even dismissed.

What Kinds of Driving Does a Business Purposes Only License Allow? 

The DMV defines “business purposes” as, “a driving privilege that is limited to any driving necessary to maintain livelihood, including to and from work, necessary on-the-job driving, driving for educational purposes and driving for church and for medical purposes; no driving for any other purposes is allowed.”  

Hersem Law Can Help

The right DUI attorney from Hersem Law will have the tools and resources necessary to help you keep your driver’s license after a DUI in Florida. If you’re ready to talk about your case and your options, call 813-251-7291 or check out the online contact form below.

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