LEGAL GUIDE
Written by attorney Peter Morlu Brima Sao Dennis | Aug 30, 2012

Your First DUI Arrest? What to expect next in Florida

License Suspension (DMV)

Your DUI citation is valid as your Drivers License for 10 days. (It’s the yellow ticket entitled Uniform DUI Citation). During these 10 days there are no restrictions on your driving.

*Then …

Administratively, the Florida DMV automatically suspends your Drivers License:

  • If you are found to have had a .08 or higher (minimum six (6) month suspension 30 days of which there is NO Driving); or

  • If you refused to take a breath, blood or urine test (minimum 1 year suspension) 90 days of which there is NO Driving.

During the first 10 days you may request a “Formal Review" of your suspension. We will attend the hearing on your behalf. When you request a Formal Review you will be given a 42 day Drivers Permit, limiting your driving to necessity to maintain livelihood purposes only.

  • You must take your citation and $25.00 and request a “Formal Review" to the DMV Bureau of Administrative Review (see map for directions) within these 10 days.
  • The scope of the review is whether the officer had probable cause to initiate the traffic stop and whether you had a blood alcohol level of .08; or whether you refused to take a breath, blood or urine test.
  • If the DMV determines the suspension to be valid then you must begin your “hard suspension," (after the 42 day permit expires). That means absolutely no driving for either :

30 days if you are found to have had a .08; or

90 days if you refused to take a breath, blood or urine test.

*After my “Hard Suspension" when can I get a Drivers License again?

Once you have completed your “hard suspension" you will be eligible for a necessity purpose Drivers License as long as you have:

  • Enrolled in DUI School if your case is still pending; or
  • Completed DUI School if your case has been settled.

It is recommended that you make an appointment for your “hardship hearing" ONE WEEK PRIOR to the expiration of your “hard suspension."

*Where do I go to request a Formal Review and request a Hardship Hearing?

Bureau of Administrative Review

  • Request a 'Formal Review Hearing.
  • Locations for the DMV Bureaus of Administrative Review can be found at: http://www.flhsmv.gov/offices/ Select your county and look for the "Under Suspension" link
  • Application Fee of $25 must be paid at that time
  • You must bring a copy of your Uniform DUI Citation

*What Do I need to bring to my “hardship hearing" to get my restricted license after my “hard suspension?

Hardship Hearing at the DMV Bureau of Administrative Review - Documents to Bring with You

1. DUI School Paperwork

If you case has been settled you must show completion of DUI School and Counseling.

If your case is still pending you need to provide proof you are enrolled in DUI School.

2. Certified Copies of all Court Paperwork

3. Reinstatement Fee (approximately $250)

DO NOT DRIVE TO YOUR HARDSHIP HEARING!!!!

Criminal Case: DUI 1st Offense – BAC .08

*Why do I have a case with the DMV and a Criminal Case at the same time?

It can seem a bit complicated .... You don’t have a “legal case" with the DMV however, the DMV administratively suspends your Driver’s License any time you either blow over a .08 BAC, or refuse to submit to a field sobriety exercise. If you have been charged with a DUI, then (at the same time) you have a criminal case. It is the criminal case that the Court has jurisdiction over, the Court has no say in any suspensions given to you by the DMV.

*Can I beat the DUI case in Court?

Very possibly, and the options and defenses for each case are different. Sit down with your attorney who can honestly discuss the facts of your case.

*If I am found Guilty of a DUI, what is the least punishment the Court can give me?

Minimum Mandatory Sentence, DUI .08 - .014 BAC

Pursuant to Florida Statute 316.1923(2)(a) the following conditions must be imposed by a judge if you are found guilty of or enter a plea of guilty to a DUI 1st Offense:

  • Six (6) months probation (maximum of 12 months) Conditions of probation:
  • Report monthly and pay cost of supervision (F.S. 316.193(5),(6)
  • Pay a fine of $500 (maximum fine of $1000) (F.S. 316.193(2)(a))
  • Drivers License Revocation for a period of 6 months (maximum 12 months) (F.S. 322.28(2))

  • Attend and complete DUI School, Phase I ($245) (F.S. 316.193(5), (6)

  • Attend and complete any counseling required by DUI School at your expense.

  • Vehicle immobilization for 10 days (F.S. 316.193(6))

  • Complete 50 hours of community service (F.S. 316.193(6)(a))

  • Court Costs (F.S. 938.01)

  • Cost of Prosecution (F.S. 938.27)

Jail is a possibility, maximum of 180 days.

*What if I blew over a .15 (BAC)

The penalties are higher if you blew a .15 (BAC) or above and are found guilty or enter a plea to that charge. Pursuant to Florida Statute 316.1923(2)(a) the following conditions must be imposed by a judge if you are found guilty of or enter a plea of guilty to a DUI 1st Offense where your blood alcohol level was .15 or higher:

Minimum Mandatory Sentence, DUI .15 (BAC) or above

  • Six (6) months probation (maximum of 12 months) Conditions of probation:
  • Report monthly and pay cost of supervision (F.S. 316.193(5),(6))
  • *Pay a fine of $1000 (maximum fine of $2000) (F.S. 316.193(4))
  • Drivers License Revocation for a period of 6 months (maximum 12 months) (F.S. 322.28(2))

  • Attend and complete DUI School, Phase I (F.S. 316.193(5), (6)

  • Attend and complete any counseling required by DUI School at your expense.

  • Vehicle immobilization for 10 days (F.S. 316.193(6))

  • Complete 50 hours of community service (F.S. 316.193(6)(a))

  • *An ignition interlock device must be installed for 6 months (F.S. 316.193(2), (6))

  • Court Costs (F.S. 938.01)

  • Cost of Prosecution (F.S. 938.27)

*Jail is a possibility, maximum 270 days

*Can I have my DUI Expunged or Sealed?

If you are convicted of a DUI, it is mandatory that the Court enter an official finding of Guilty (F.S. 316.656), which means the case is not eligible for expungement or sealing.

*What if my DUI involved damage to property?

If the DUI involved an accident with damage to property the Court will require restitution to be paid for damages that were not covered by insurance. Additionally the maximum jail time becomes 365 days.

Please note, the above does not constitute legal advice but is only meant as a general informative guide.

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