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How to Get a Hardship License

A common question our clients ask is, Is there any way to get my license back if it was suspended for DUI? Yes! Under Florida administrative law, you have 10 days after receiving a license suspension for DUI to challenge the suspension. This is known as a DHSMV (or DMV) review hearing. However, this can be a strategic decision because, whether you choose to contest the suspension or to waive that right, your decision carries consequences with it:

  1. If you decide not to contest your suspension within the allotted 10 days, then you waive the right to have a review hearing. However, you can immediately apply for a hardship license, formally known as a Business Purpose Only (BPO) license, that would allow you to drive for certain restricted activities such as work, school, and church.
  2. If you challenge the suspension, you will get a hearing to plead your case, but you will also have to wait 30 days before you can apply for a hardship license. Of course, if the DHSMV reinstates your license, a hardship license will no longer be necessary.

If you choose to contest the suspension, a hearing will be scheduled in front of a hearing officer for the DHSMV, where you can argue that one or more of the following requirements for a license suspension were not met:

Just like when it comes to court, you may want an experienced DUI attorney to represent you in front of the DHSMV hearing officer because of the complex legal issues involved. It is important to keep in mind that a hearing in front of the DHSMV is completely separate from any criminal proceedings you may be involved in for DUI. You can win the DHSMV hearing and still lose in the criminal trial, and vice versa.

A review hearing is held in front of the Bureau for Administrative Reviews (BAR) division of the DHSMV. Orange County’s BAR can be found at: 4101 Clarcona-Ocoee Rd., Suite #152, Orlando, FL 32810.

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