License Suspension Law

Florida DUI License Suspension Laws

The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) is responsible for monitoring a person’s driving privilege. The DHSMV is a separate governmental agency which acts independently of the Courts, but also responds to court orders. Many people don’t understand that they are essentially facing two agencies with respect to their driving privilege following arrest for Driving Under the Influence (DUI). The DHSMV will suspend your license administratively for a DUI arrest, then often suspend it also by Court order if convicted. For a first DUI arrest, if you did the breath test and your Blood/Breath alcohol Content (B.A.C.) is determined to be .08% or higher, then your license will be suspended for a period not less than 6 (six) months by the DHSMV. For each subsequent DUI, the period of suspension may increase, with permanent revocation eventually being mandated. Likewise, the Courts often order suspension or revocation as a condition of sentence if convicted. The good news is you can challenge the suspension with the DHSMV if your get on it first thing after arrest, within 10 days. This is what lawyers call the “10 Day Rule.”

“10 Day Rule”

To challenge the DHSMV’s administrative suspension you only have 10 days from the date of arrest, or 10 days from the date of notice of suspension, to do one of two things. First you can request an Administrative Hearing (formal or informal) wherein you can challenge the legality of the stop or DUI determination. The second option is to forfeit your right to a review hearing, but in exchange the DHSMV will review your eligibility for a Business Purpose Only (BPO) license to be issued immediately. To be eligible for a BPO license you must have never received a DUI/refusal suspension and you must enroll in DUI School. Failure to challenge the administrative suspension within 10 days will forever foreclose these options.

Other Things to Know About Your Driving Privilege

Generally, the ticket citing you for DUI operates as a 10 day driving permit for the period immediately following arrest, if you otherwise are entitled to a license. During those 10 days your driving privilege is restricted to only work related travel.

If you request an administrative review hearing the department will issue you a permit that extends your privilege pending the hearing. If at your hearing the officer determines the suspension to be valid, you will have to endure a hard suspension period before applying for a hardship license. The DHSMV requires you to show proof of enrollment for DUI school prior to issuing you the hardship license. For a breath or blood alcohol level of .08% or greater the hard suspension is 30 days, for a refusal it’s 90 days.

You will not be eligible for a Hardship License if this is a second or subsequent DUI, or if this is a second or subsequent refusal.

Commercial Driver’s License

Those with a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) should know that the legal limit while driving a commercial vehicle is a B.A.C. of .04%. Naturally, this will lead to a disqualification of your commercial driving privilege. However, so will a DUI conviction in your private vehicle. Disqualification for persons with a CDL often times destroy their very livelihood. For a first offense or refusal, the period of disqualification is for a period of one year and it is permanent following any subsequent offense or refusal. Unfortunately, persons disqualified from operating a commercial motor vehicle cannot obtain a hardship license to operate a commercial motor vehicle.

Our office has handled countless Administrative Hearings for clients while addressing their DUI cases. Contact our office as soon as possible following arrest to potentially avoid missing this important 10 day deadline. Services offered in Broward, Palm Beach, and Miami-Dade Counties.