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Driving After a Florida DUI: Essential Tips to Safeguard Your License



Understanding the Impact of a DUI on Your Florida Driver’s License

Driving under the influence (DUI) in Florida can have severe consequences on your driving privileges. Understanding these impacts is crucial for safeguarding your license. A DUI arrest can lead to an immediate administrative suspension if your blood alcohol content (BAC) is over .08 or if you refuse to submit to a chemical test. This section will delve into the specifics of how a DUI affects your license and what you can expect post-arrest.

Immediate Administrative Suspension

Upon arrest, the officer may issue an on-the-spot administrative suspension. This suspension can last from 6 months to 18 months, depending on the circumstances. The notice of suspension will provide you with three options: doing nothing, applying for a review waiver hearing, or contesting the suspension through a formal review hearing.

What is an Immediate Administrative Suspension? An Immediate Administrative Suspension is a temporary revocation of your driving privileges issued by a law enforcement officer at the time of your DUI arrest.

Choosing to do nothing means you will suffer the full duration of the administrative suspension, which includes a hard suspension period where you cannot drive at all. This can significantly impact your daily life, making it difficult to commute to work, school, or other essential activities.

Alternatively, you can apply for a review waiver hearing. This option allows for immediate hardship driving privileges but requires you to stipulate to the administrative suspension remaining on your record for 75 years. This is only available for first-time DUI offenders.

The third option is to contest the suspension by demanding a formal review hearing. This route allows you to challenge the suspension and potentially have it removed from your record. If you choose this option, an attorney can help you secure a 42-day hardship permit, ensuring there is no interruption in your driving privileges while awaiting the hearing.

For more detailed guidance on handling a DUI arrest and its implications, you can explore our comprehensive guide to administrative suspension review hearings.

It’s essential to weigh the pros and cons of each option carefully. For instance, doing nothing might seem like the easiest choice initially, but it can lead to long-term repercussions, including higher insurance rates and a permanent mark on your driving record. On the other hand, contesting the suspension could be more beneficial in the long run, especially if you win the formal review hearing.

For a deeper understanding of your options after a DUI arrest, visit our page on license options after a DUI in Florida.

First Option: Doing Nothing

Choosing to do nothing after receiving a DUI citation means accepting the administrative suspension. This option results in a hard suspension period ranging from 30 days to 18 months, during which you cannot drive. After the hard suspension, you may apply for a hardship license, but your driving record will reflect the suspension for 75 years. This section will explore the pros and cons of this option and why it might not be the best choice for most drivers.

Consequences of Doing Nothing

Accepting the suspension without contesting it can lead to long-term repercussions, including higher insurance rates and a permanent mark on your driving record. This section will provide detailed information on the potential consequences and why you should consider other options.

What happens if you do nothing after a DUI arrest? If you do nothing, you will face a hard suspension period ranging from 30 days to 18 months, during which you cannot drive. Additionally, the administrative suspension will remain on your driving record for 75 years.

Let’s break down the consequences of choosing to do nothing:

  • Hard Suspension Period: During the hard suspension period, you are not allowed to drive at all. This can significantly disrupt your daily life, making it difficult to commute to work, school, or other essential activities.
  • Long-Term Record: The administrative suspension will remain on your driving record for 75 years. This permanent mark can affect your ability to obtain certain jobs, especially those that require a clean driving record.
  • Increased Insurance Rates: A DUI on your record can lead to significantly higher insurance premiums. Insurance companies view DUI offenders as high-risk, and this perception can result in substantial financial burdens over time.
  • Financial Penalties: In addition to higher insurance rates, you may also face fines, legal fees, and mandatory DUI programs, all of which can add up quickly.

For instance, if you’re a professional driver or hold a commercial driver’s license (CDL), a DUI conviction can be particularly devastating. Not only will you face the standard penalties, but you may also lose your CDL, making it impossible to continue your career. To better understand the specific implications for commercial drivers, check out our page on CDL disqualifications after a DUI.

Moreover, the financial burden of fines, legal fees, and mandatory programs can be overwhelming. If you’re a professional, such as a nurse or a commercial airline pilot, a DUI conviction can jeopardize your career and professional license.

Why Doing Nothing Might Not Be the Best Choice

While doing nothing might seem like the easiest option, it often leads to the most severe long-term consequences. Here are a few reasons why you should consider other options:

  • Permanent Record: As mentioned earlier, the administrative suspension will remain on your driving record for 75 years. This can affect your employment opportunities, particularly in fields that require a clean driving record.
  • Financial Impact: The financial repercussions of a DUI are not limited to fines and legal fees. Higher insurance rates and potential job loss can create a significant financial strain.
  • Limited Mobility: The hard suspension period can severely limit your mobility, making it difficult to fulfill daily responsibilities and obligations.

If you’re considering doing nothing, it’s crucial to weigh these long-term consequences against the potential benefits of other options. For example, applying for a review waiver hearing might provide immediate hardship driving privileges, allowing you to maintain some level of mobility. To explore this option further, visit our guide on getting a BPO hardship license.

Additionally, contesting the administrative suspension through a formal review hearing can offer the best chance of preserving your driving privileges. This option allows you to challenge the suspension and potentially have it removed from your record. For more information on this process, check out our detailed explanation of DUI formal review hearings in Florida.

Ultimately, choosing to do nothing after a DUI arrest can have far-reaching and long-lasting consequences. It’s essential to carefully consider all available options and seek legal advice to determine the best course of action for your specific situation.

Second Option: Review Waiver Hearing for Immediate Hardship Driving Privileges

If you cannot afford a criminal defense attorney, applying for a review waiver hearing might be a viable option. This option allows you to obtain immediate hardship driving privileges by stipulating to the administrative suspension. This section will guide you through the process of applying for a review waiver hearing, including the necessary steps and documentation required.

Steps to Apply for Immediate Hardship Privileges

To qualify for immediate hardship driving privileges, you must complete an application, pay a filing fee, and enroll in a DUI school. This section will provide a step-by-step guide on how to apply, including mailing and emailing documents to the DHSMV and obtaining the plastic hardship license at a full-service DHSMV office.

Here are the steps you need to follow to apply for immediate hardship driving privileges:

  1. Complete the Application: Fill out the application for an immediate hardship reinstatement. This means you are stipulating to the administrative suspension remaining on your driver’s license for 75 years.
  2. Pay the Filing Fee: The filing fee for the review waiver hearing is $12. Make sure to include this payment with your application.
  3. Enroll in DUI School: Show proof that you have enrolled in and paid for DUI school in the county where you live or work.
  4. Submit Documentation: Mail the completed application, proof of DUI school enrollment, and the filing fee to the DHSMV. Additionally, it is recommended to email a copy to the Bureau of Administrative Review (BAR).
  5. Visit the DHSMV Office: After your application is approved, you can obtain the plastic hardship license at a full-service DHSMV office. You will be required to pay a $130 administrative fee, a $45 reinstatement fee, and any necessary license fees.
  6. Provide Proof of Insurance: Show proof of liability insurance on the arrest date and proof of current liability coverage.

It is essential to follow these steps carefully to ensure your application for immediate hardship driving privileges is processed smoothly. If you need more detailed guidance, our guide on obtaining a BPO hardship license can provide additional insights.

What is a review waiver hearing? A review waiver hearing allows you to obtain immediate hardship driving privileges by stipulating to the administrative suspension, which will remain on your driving record for 75 years.

While applying for a review waiver hearing might seem straightforward, it is crucial to understand the long-term implications. By stipulating to the administrative suspension, you are waiving your right to contest the suspension in the future. This decision can have lasting effects on your driving record and insurance rates.

For first-time DUI offenders, this option can provide a much-needed reprieve from the hardships of a full suspension. However, it’s essential to weigh the pros and cons carefully. For more information on the implications of a DUI on your driving privileges, visit our guide to license options after a DUI.

Pros and Cons of the Review Waiver Hearing

Understanding the benefits and drawbacks of the review waiver hearing can help you make an informed decision. Here are some key points to consider:

  • Pros:
    • Immediate Hardship Privileges: You can obtain immediate hardship driving privileges, allowing you to drive for essential purposes such as work, school, and medical appointments.
    • Avoid Hard Suspension: By opting for the review waiver hearing, you can avoid the 30 to 90-day hard suspension period that comes with doing nothing.
  • Cons:
    • Permanent Record: The administrative suspension will remain on your driving record for 75 years, which can impact your insurance rates and employment opportunities.
    • Waiving Contest Rights: By choosing this option, you waive your right to contest the administrative suspension in the future.

While the immediate benefits of obtaining hardship driving privileges are clear, it’s important to consider the long-term consequences. If you are unsure whether this option is right for you, consulting with an experienced DUI attorney can provide valuable insights. For more information on the potential outcomes of a review waiver hearing, check out our explanation of DUI formal review hearings.

Additionally, if you are a commercial driver, the implications of a DUI can be even more severe. For detailed information on how a DUI can affect your commercial driver’s license (CDL), visit our page on CDL disqualifications after a DUI.

In conclusion, while the review waiver hearing provides a viable option for obtaining immediate hardship driving privileges, it is essential to carefully consider the long-term effects on your driving record and insurance rates. If you need assistance navigating this process, contact us for expert legal guidance.


Third Option: Contesting the Administrative Suspension

Demanding a formal review hearing is often the best option for safeguarding your driving privileges. By contesting the administrative suspension, you have the opportunity to secure a 42-day driving permit and potentially remove the suspension from your record. This section will explain the benefits of demanding a formal review hearing and how a skilled attorney can assist you in this process.

Benefits of a Formal Review Hearing

Winning the formal review hearing can result in the removal of the administrative suspension from your driving record, restoring your full driving privileges. Even if you lose, you can still obtain a hardship license after serving a hard suspension period. This section will detail the advantages of this option and why it is highly recommended.

Contesting the administrative suspension through a formal review hearing offers several significant benefits:

  • 42-Day Driving Permit: When you demand a formal review hearing, you are automatically granted a 42-day driving permit, allowing you to continue driving while your case is being reviewed.
  • Potential Removal of Suspension: If you win the hearing, the administrative suspension is removed from your driving record, and your full driving privileges are restored.
  • Opportunity to Challenge Evidence: A formal review hearing allows you to challenge the evidence against you, including the legality of the traffic stop, the accuracy of chemical tests, and the procedures followed by the arresting officer.
  • Expert Legal Representation: Having an experienced DUI attorney by your side can significantly increase your chances of winning the hearing. Attorneys can scrutinize the evidence, cross-examine witnesses, and present compelling arguments on your behalf.

What is a formal review hearing? A formal review hearing is a legal proceeding where you can contest the administrative suspension of your driver’s license after a DUI arrest. Winning the hearing can remove the suspension from your record.

Steps to Demand a Formal Review Hearing

Demanding a formal review hearing involves several important steps. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you navigate the process:

  1. Request the Hearing: You must request a formal review hearing within 10 days of your DUI arrest. This request must be submitted to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV).
  2. Prepare Your Case: Work with your DUI attorney to gather evidence, identify witnesses, and build a strong defense. Your attorney will help you challenge the legality of the traffic stop, the accuracy of chemical tests, and any procedural errors made by the arresting officer.
  3. Attend the Hearing: The formal review hearing will be conducted by a hearing officer at the DHSMV. Your attorney will present your case, cross-examine witnesses, and argue for the removal of the suspension.
  4. Receive the Decision: After the hearing, the hearing officer will issue a decision. If you win, the administrative suspension will be removed from your driving record. If you lose, you may still be eligible for a hardship license after serving a hard suspension period.

For more detailed information on the formal review hearing process, visit our guide to DUI formal review hearings.

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Why You Should Consider Contesting the Suspension

While the process of contesting the administrative suspension may seem daunting, the potential benefits far outweigh the challenges. Here are some reasons why you should consider this option:

  • Protect Your Driving Record: Winning the formal review hearing can prevent the suspension from appearing on your driving record, which can help maintain lower insurance rates and protect your employment opportunities.
  • Maintain Full Driving Privileges: By contesting the suspension, you have the chance to retain your full driving privileges without any interruption.
  • Challenge Unfair Procedures: The formal review hearing provides an opportunity to challenge any unfair or improper procedures followed during your arrest, which can lead to the dismissal of the suspension.
  • Expert Legal Support: Working with a skilled DUI attorney can significantly enhance your chances of success. Attorneys can identify weaknesses in the prosecution’s case and present a robust defense on your behalf.

For commercial drivers, the stakes are even higher. A DUI conviction can lead to CDL disqualifications and jeopardize your livelihood. Contesting the suspension is crucial to protecting your career.

If you are considering contesting the administrative suspension, our team at Leppard Law: DUI Lawyers is here to help. We have extensive experience in handling formal review hearings and can guide you through every step of the process. Contact us today to discuss your case and explore your options.


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What happens if I refuse a breath test in Florida?

Refusing a breath test in Florida can result in an immediate administrative suspension of your driver’s license. The penalties for refusing a breath test include a one-year suspension for the first refusal and an 18-month suspension for subsequent refusals. Additionally, refusal can be used as evidence against you in court.

How can I contest a DUI license suspension in Florida?

To contest a DUI license suspension in Florida, you can demand a formal review hearing. This process involves requesting a hearing within 10 days of your arrest to challenge the validity of the suspension. During the hearing, you can present evidence and argue your case. If successful, the suspension may be lifted, and your driving privileges restored.

What is a hardship license and how do I obtain one?

A hardship license is a restricted license that allows you to drive for essential purposes, such as work, school, or medical appointments, during your suspension period. To obtain a hardship license in Florida, you must complete a DUI school, submit an application to the DHSMV, and possibly attend a hearing. The application process also involves paying associated fees and providing proof of need.

What are the consequences of doing nothing after a DUI arrest?

Doing nothing after a DUI arrest results in accepting the administrative suspension of your driver’s license. This can lead to a hard suspension period ranging from 30 days to 18 months, during which you cannot drive. Long-term consequences include higher insurance rates and a permanent mark on your driving record. It is generally advisable to explore other options, such as applying for a hardship license or contesting the suspension.

Refusing a breath test in Florida can result in an immediate administrative suspension of your driver’s license.

To contest a DUI license suspension in Florida, you can demand a formal review hearing.

A hardship license is a restricted license that allows you to drive for essential purposes during your suspension period.

Doing nothing after a DUI arrest results in accepting the administrative suspension of your driver’s license.

For more information on DUI defenses and how to protect your driving privileges, check out our guide on how to beat your DUI case or visit our page on license options after a DUI. If you need immediate assistance, don’t hesitate to contact us for a free consultation.

Understanding the steps to safeguard your license after a DUI in Florida is crucial. For detailed guidance, you can explore our comprehensive Florida DUI Licensing Guide or learn about obtaining a BPO hardship license. If you’re facing a suspension, consider demanding a formal review hearing to contest the suspension and protect your driving privileges.


Explore additional practice areas we serve to understand how we can assist you with various legal issues:

Florida DUI Licensing Guide Getting BPO Hardship License
License Options After DUI Orlando BAR Guide
Fighting Administrative Suspension Florida BAR Office List
CDL Disqualifications After DUI Requesting BPO Eligibility Review
10-Day Rule for DUI Under 21 Zero Tolerance Suspensions
Reinstating License After DUI Manslaughter Immediate License Suspension After DUI
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Formal Review Hearings Explained DHSMV Hearings Decoded

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Looking for the best DUI lawyers in Florida? Our distinguished team of attorneys is committed to offering you the best possible defense against your DUI charges.

  • John Vallillo: As a stalwart in the Florida legal scene, John Vallillo has earned his stripes through a consistent record of case dismissals and proactive defense. His background as both a prosecutor and defense attorney enriches his strategic defense planning with invaluable insights.
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Take the Next Step to Protect Your Future

At Leppard Law, we understand that dealing with a DUI charge can be overwhelming. But you don’t have to face it alone. Our dedicated team is here to provide you with the personalized attention and expert legal representation you deserve. We treat our clients like family, always putting their best interests first and fighting for the best possible outcome.

Don’t just take our word for it. Reach out to us today and experience our award-winning services for yourself. Contact us at 407-476-4111 to schedule your free consultation and take the first step towards safeguarding your future.

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  • Top 10 DUI Attorneys near Orlando, FL (2024) – Recognized by Thumbtack. Learn more.
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These awards reflect our dedication to providing outstanding legal services and achieving the best results for our clients. When you choose Leppard Law, you are choosing a firm that is committed to excellence and client satisfaction.

Don’t wait. Contact us today at 407-476-4111 and let us help you navigate this challenging time with confidence and peace of mind.

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Legally Reviewed by Joe Easton

Experienced Florida DUI Attorney

Legally reviewed by Joe Easton and the content team, this article reflects the firm’s 60 years of combined criminal defense expertise. Joe Easton, with his extensive experience and strategic prowess in DUI and criminal defense, offers more than just legal representation; he brings a commitment to turning legal challenges into triumphs. His approach, combining tenacity in the courtroom with personalized client care, ensures your DUI case is not just defended but championed with dedication and expertise.

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