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Contact an Experienced South Florida DUI Defense Lawyer About a License Suspension

For millions of Americans, a driver’s license represents freedom. Whether you’re commuting to work or planning a big road trip, losing your license can feel like a complete loss of power. 

Following a drunk driving arrest, you may face a wide range of penalties affecting your license. One of those penalties may be an administrative suspension of your driver’s license. 

Thankfully, there are steps you can take to navigate this difficult situation and work towards regaining your driving privileges. By understanding the process and seeking guidance from a trusted Fort Lauderdale DUI defense attorney, you may overcome a license suspension and reclaim your freedom on the road.

Florida DUI Consequences

If you are arrested for drunk driving in Florida, your driver's license will be automatically suspended by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. The suspension begins ten days after the drunk driving arrest. That means that you only have ten days to decide whether to:

  • Request a formal license suspension hearing
  • Waive your rights and suffer the suspension

Additionally, individuals convicted of DUI in Florida may face a range of other penalties, including probation, potential jail time of up to one year for a first offense, fines, mandatory attendance at traffic school, alcohol and substance abuse evaluation and treatment, license revocation, community service hours, participation in DUI school, attendance at a Victim Impact Panel (VIP), and the requirement to install an ignition interlock device. A DUI conviction may result in a lifetime criminal record that cannot be expunged. 

Commercial drivers must exercise heightened caution. A DUI conviction leads to a one-year disqualification from operating commercial vehicles. Commercial drivers face a lower blood-alcohol concentration threshold than private motorists, increasing their vulnerability to DUI charges.

Challenging an Administrative Driver’s License Suspension in Florida

Following a DUI arrest in Florida, you must request a formal review hearing within ten calendar days. This hearing is your sole opportunity to contest the administrative suspension of your driver’s license.

Failure to request the formal review hearing or failure to succeed at the hearing will result in the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles upholding the suspension, which may remain on your record for many years.

Conversely, winning the hearing will "invalidate" the suspension permanently, erasing it from your driving record as though it never occurred. The formal review hearing is nearly as critical as winning the DUI case in court. Accordingly, you’ll want a trusted Florida DUI defense lawyer advocating for your best interests.

Robert David Malove routinely requests formal review hearings for DUI cases. He and his team are equipped with a thorough understanding of the strategies employed by hearing officers. Before relinquishing your rights, reach out to us to understand the advantages of requesting a formal review hearing within the ten (10) day timeframe.

Consider Immediate Hardship Before Deciding on a Formal Review

Opting for a formal review hearing carries a potential drawback. For first-time offenses, you can circumvent the chance of a "hard suspension" by presenting proof of enrollment in DUI school and requesting a waiver review hearing at the Bureau of Administrative Review office within ten days of the arrest.

However, by requesting a waiver review hearing, you effectively waive all your rights and essentially concede to the administrative license suspension. For most individuals, it's preferable to demand a formal review hearing despite the risk of a possible hard suspension.

Put simply, the only drawback to requesting the formal review hearing is that failing to invalidate the suspension may result in a 30-day hard suspension for those who took the breath test or a 90-day hard suspension for those who refused to test.

If you have a prior DUI arrest or administrative suspension, the "waiver review hearing" isn't an option, and there's no downside to requesting the formal review hearing.

Before making your decision, consult with a Fort Lauderdale DUI defense attorney to understand how best to safeguard your rights during this crucial stage of the case.

Criminal Case Outcomes May Impact License Suspensions

If the license suspension arose due to the driver allegedly blowing over the legal limit of 0.08, it may be lifted upon obtaining a "not guilty" verdict at trial. However, obtaining a "not guilty" verdict at trial does not lead to the removal of the suspension for individuals charged with DUI for refusing to submit to a breath, blood, or urine test.

Other circumstances where the suspension can be lifted include:

  • If the driver secures a certified court order indicating mistaken identity or identity theft.
  • If the driver obtains a statement from the suspending officer withdrawing the suspension.
  • If the driver obtains a statement from the prosecuting attorney confirming mistaken identity.

The Importance of Challenging a DUI License Suspension

A driver's license is essential for many aspects of daily life, including employment, education, and accessing essential services. Challenging the license suspension allows you to maintain your driving privileges, minimizing disruptions to your life.

A DUI conviction and the associated license suspension can have long-term repercussions, including increased insurance rates, employment difficulties, and social stigma. There are future legal matters to consider as well. Challenging your license suspension may help protect your legal standing and rights in future legal proceedings.

Applying for a Florida Hardship Driving License

If you've received a DUI conviction, you might still have the opportunity to seek a "hardship" or restricted license. This can be especially beneficial if you require driving privileges for work, school, or essential activities. However, the conditions for obtaining and using a hardship license are stringent because they are designed to mitigate risks to public safety.

Florida Hardship License Requirements

If your driver's license in Florida has been suspended or revoked, you may need a hardship license. Fortunately, obtaining one isn't overly complex or time-consuming, especially with the option of completing the required education online.

First, you’ll need to enroll in a 12-hour Florida Advanced Driver Improvement course and obtain your enrollment certificate. Then, complete an application for a hardship hearing and bring both the enrollment certificate and the application to your local Administrative Reviews Office. After paying the necessary fees and getting your application approved, you'll receive your hardship license.

You may request your hardship or for business purposes only (BPO) license after 30 – 90 days if your suspension request is dismissed at the hearing. If your BPO license is granted, you will be able to drive to work, school, medical appointments, and religious institutions. 

The Impact of a Fort Lauderdale DUI Defense Attorney

Navigating the complexities of DUI license suspension and subsequent legal proceedings requires experience and advocacy. A Fort Lauderdale DUI defense attorney can play a pivotal role in your defense strategy and help you achieve the best possible outcome.

Robert Malove can serve as your advocate throughout the entire process, from the formal review hearing to any subsequent legal proceedings. He and his team will work tirelessly to build a strong defense on your behalf and challenge the evidence presented against you.

In some cases, we may be able to negotiate with prosecutors to secure a favorable plea deal or alternative sentencing options. Our team will leverage their negotiation skills to pursue the best possible outcome for your case.

Another huge benefit of hiring a Florida DUI defense lawyer is peace of mind. You don’t know what you don’t know. Dealing with a DUI and license suspension can be overwhelming and stressful. Having a knowledgeable attorney on your side can provide you with peace of mind, knowing that your case is in capable hands and you are taking steps to protect your future.