Your First-Time DUI and the DMV
Being arrested for Driving under the Influence (“DUI”) is scary enough for most people. If the arrest was the end of it you would be fine, but it is only the beginning. Breaking DUI law down is very tricky to do because it involves both the court system and the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (“DHSMV”). The possible sanctions imposed by the courts and DHSMV change with every DUI conviction. This article focuses only on a first-time DUI and discusses how the DHSMV responds to a DUI arrest and the actions they take immediately after your arrest.
Upon the completion of an investigation, the police officer will determine whether or not they have probable cause to arrest you for DUI. If you are arrested for DUI you will be issued a citation. The citation will act as a temporary driver’s license for the next 10 days if you provided a breath or blood sample above 0.08 breath or blood alcohol content (“BAC”) or if you refused to provide a breath, urine, or blood sample when requested by the police officer. Once the 10 days has passed, the DHSMV will impose a 6 month suspension if your breath result was above a 0.08 BAC or a 1 year suspension if you refused to provide a breath, urine or blood sample upon request.
You can contest the above suspension if you file a request for a hearing within 10 days of receiving the DUI. You must file this request with the Bureau of Administrative Review and request either an informal or formal hearing. A restricted permit to drive for Business Purposes Only can be issued at the discretion of the Bureau of Administrative Review if you request it while you wait for your hearing date. At the hearing, the hearing officer will determine whether to impose the suspension or to invalidate the suspension. The decision of the hearing office can be appealed if you believe an error was made by the hearing officer.
If your license suspension is invalidated at the hearing, you can then resume normal driving once your privilege is reinstated. If you were unsuccessful at the hearing, you will then have to apply for a hardship license. The issuance of a hardship license is also determined by a hearing officer with the Bureau of Administrative Review. To become eligible for a hardship license, you must first enroll in DUI School. If your breath results were above a 0.08 BAC, you must wait 30 days before you can apply for a hardship license or if you refused to provide a breath, urine, or blood sample, you must wait 90 days before you can apply for a hardship license.
Upon a conviction for the DUI, the hardship license is no longer valid and you must request another hearing for a hardship license. If your DUI was reduced or dropped, you must have the Business Purpose Only restriction removed at your local DHSMV office.
The information in this article is only one aspect of a DUI case. It is not all inclusive because DUI law is ever changing. Do not hesitate to contact our experienced St. Petersburg DUI/DWI lawyers and retain our services in the defense of your drivers’ license. We can be reached for a free consultation at: (727) 797-9600 in Pinellas County, (813) 333-6517 in Hillsborough County.