Understanding Florida's Driver's License DUI Suspension Laws.
In Florida there are two types of driver's license suspensions. One, which is immediate, is the administrative license suspension. The second is a suspension ordered by the court if you are convicted or plead guilty to a DUI.
On the day of the stop and if you blew a .08 or above, or you refuse the breath test the officer will confiscate your license and give you a permit that allows you to drive for 10 days. The permit is usually your copy of the DUI ticket.
You have 10 days (calendar days, not business days) from the date of the stop to request an administrative hearing or you may waive the hearing at the department of motor vehicles (DHSMV). In Pinellas County the Administrative Review Hearing Office is located at 4585 140th Avenue North, Suite 1002, Clearwater. If you do not request a hearing or waive the hearing your ability to drive in Florida will be suspended on the 10th day after the stop, for 6 months, if this is your first DUI. The administrative license issue is separate and apart from the criminal DUI case.
If you waive the administrative hearing and you blew .08 or above, you will be automatically eligible for a limited driver's license so that you can continue working. You will have to go to the DHSMV and fill out the waiver form and pay $25.00. DHSMV will issue a document that you may take to the driver license issuing office and get the limited license. The reinstatement fee is approximately $130.00.
If you took the breath test and request an administrative hearing, by going to the DHSMV as described above, your license will stay valid until the hearing, and if you win the hearing your license will remain valid. If you do not win at the administrative hearing your license will be suspended. You will suffer a hard license suspension for 30 days before you are eligible to apply for a limited license and you must be enrolled in the DUI school at the time you apply.
If this is your first refusal of the breath test and request an administrative hearing, by going to the DHSMV as described above, your license will stay valid until the hearing. If this is a second refusal you are NOT eligible for a limited driver license. However, if you win the hearing your license will remain valid. If you do not prevail at the administrative hearing your license will be suspended. You will suffer a hard license suspension for 90 days, if this is your first refusal, before you are eligible to apply for a limited license and you must be enrolled in the DUI school at the time you apply. If this is a second refusal you are not eligible for a limited driver license.
On the criminal side, if you are convicted of or plead guilty to a first time DUI and you took the breath test, your license will be suspended for 6 months. However, you will be eligible for a limited license. You must have completed the DUI school and any classes or counseling that is recommended, before applying to the limited license. If this is a second DUI, you will not be eligible of a limited driver license at all. After a first time DUI conviction you must have completed the DUI school and any classes or counseling that maybe recommended to be eligible for a limited license. You must take proof of completion of the DUI school, the case disposition and sentence signed by the judge to DHSMV. Failure to take those documents will cause you to be denied a limited license until they are produced.
If you are an out of state driver, Florida will not administratively suspend your out of state license, however DHSMV will issue you a Florida driver's license number and suspend it. In most cases, if stopped and you produce an out of state license, the officer will run both your out of state license and a Florida license check. If the computer indicates your privilege to drive in Florida is suspended for a DUI, you will most likely be arrested.
Florida's DUI license suspension for under 21 and commercial drivers.
If you are under 21 years old and the legal limit in which the state considers you impaired is .02. If you are a .02 or above the suspension is for six months for a first offense one year is it your second offense. If you are under 21 years old and your breath or blood alcohol level is .05 or higher, the suspension remains in effect until completion of a substance abuse evaluation and course.
Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) Alcohol-Related Convictions/Disqualifications
If you are licensed to operate a commercial motor (CMV) vehicle you may be disqualified from operating a CMV for one year for if convicted of DUI. The legal limit for a CMV is .04 or above or driving a CMV while under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance or refusing to submit to a test to determine the alcohol concentration while driving a CMV and driving a CMV while under the influence of alcohol or controlled substance; or driving a CMV while in possession of a controlled substance.
Be aware there is no provision for a person whose CMV license is suspended to get a business or employment license to drive a CMV, and a second or subsequent conviction of any of the above offenses arising out of separate incidents will result in a permanent suspension of your CMV license.
What is the purpose of the administrative license hearing?
Upon the request of the driver, to conduct formal and informal reviews for the purpose of sustaining, amending, or invalidating the administrative suspension the hearing officer will, after hearing and considering testimony and physical evidence, determine if the traffic stop was legal, if the officer demonstrated and had you perform the field sobriety test (FST) correctly, and if the officer appropriately advised you of Florida's implied consent law.