There are a number of consequences that an individual may face following a first offense DUI in Ft Lauderdale, including, in some cases, a suspension of an individual’s drivers license. With that said, it is important to consult with an experienced Ft Lauderdale first offense DUI lawyer in order to protect your privilege to drive and ensure that your rights are protected. To learn more or discuss the specific penalties that you may be facing, call and schedule a consultation today.
A driver’s license suspension for the criminal offense of DUI does not take effect until there is a finding in court by a criminal judge as to whether or not there is a conviction for the criminal charge of DUI.
However, there is an administrative portion of Florida law and Florida statutes that allow the Department of Motor Vehicles to take action against an individual’s driving privileges immediately after they are arrested for a DUI. That is called an administrative suspension that is triggered when a police officer makes the arrest.
In addition, the Department of Motor Vehicles treats individuals differently if they took the breathalyzer or did not. If a person takes the breathalyzer and registers above the legal limit of a 0.08, that individual faces an administrative suspension of their driver’s license from the Department of Motor Vehicles, separate and apart from anything going on with the criminal charge. That suspension lasts for a period of six months and begins 10 days after the arrest. The officer issues a DUI citation that acts as a temporary driver’s license which expires on midnight on the 10th day following the arrest.
If the individual who gets arrested does nothing in response, they start a six months administrative suspension of their driver’s license. The first 30 days of that administrative suspension, there is no driving at all. For the remaining five months, the individual can apply for a hardship license which is a license to drive to and from work, school, medical appointments, and religious activities.
A person may be able to get a hardship license assuming this is their first DUI and they can show that they have enrolled into a qualified DUI school.
Test Refusal’s Impact on Driving
Assuming a first time DUI offense, when a person is arrested and does not take the breathalyzer; they refuse to take the breathalyzer, the process is similar but the length of time for the suspension is doubled. If a person refuses to take the breathalyzer, the Department of Motor Vehicles suspends the driver’s license for 12 months.
The same procedure can be utilized as compared to the six months suspension. If an individual decides that they want to waive the administrative challenge, they must do that within the first 10 days and show enrollment into a qualified DUI school to get a hardship license for the entire period of time. This is a complex area of administrative law so it is a really good idea to consult with a Ft Lauderdale first-offense DUI lawyer who can assist an individual. The attorney can inform the person about their rights and what they can obtain as far as license treatment is concerned.
Challenging a Suspension
A person could file a challenge to the suspension of the driver’s license that must be filed with the Department of Motor Vehicles within the first 10 days following the arrest. Alternatively, within the same first 10 days, a person can waive their right to challenge the suspension by the Department of Motor Vehicles and accept the Department’s suspension. In exchange for that, the Department of Motor Vehicles will issue a hardship license for the entire six months of the suspension and waives that 30 days of no driving if the person takes action within the first 10 days following the arrest.
When someone feels that they do not deserve the treatment given to their license following a Ft. Lauderdale first-offense DUI, they have every right to file the challenge. There is a hearing at the Department of Motor Vehicles whereby the department would have to make findings as to the legality of the suspension. This is not a hardship hearing. It is a due process hearing where the Department of Motor Vehicles makes the determination as to whether or not the suspension is lawful.