The suspension of a license can range from being inconvenient to being a barrier to you living your life and accomplishing necessary tasks. The option to challenge a license suspension always exists, but challenging Ft. Lauderdale DUI license suspension is complicated, even more so now that the laws regarding administrative suspension have changed. A skilled attorney could help examine the facts of your case and determine what your options are. Speak with a lawyer today, and know that you are in capable hands.
Changing DUI Suspension Laws
In Florida, and in most states, an individual who had their driver’s license taken from them as a result of a DUI arrest, has what are called due process rights. They can request an administrative review through the Department of Motor Vehicles (commonly referred to as a formal or an informal review). However, the law on administrative suspension due to DUI cases has recently changed.
The law now reads that all other things being equal, if an individual is dealing with a first offense when they get arrested for DUI, are asked to take a breath test and blow over the legal limit, they would normally face a six-month suspension of their driver’s license. The first 10 days after the arrest, the individual can use their DUI citation as their driver’s license and if they do nothing (which, obviously, is not recommended).
If they were to not challenge the suspension or take any action with respect to their driver’s license, they would face a six-month suspension of their driver’s license. In the first 30 days (or the first month) of that suspension, they would not be able to drive at all. For the remaining five months, the Department of Motor Vehicles would allow them to apply for a hardship license.
What Happens If Someone Refuses a Breath Test?
If an individual gets pulled over and arrested for a first offense DUI, if the police officer asks them to submit to either a breath test or a urine test and they refuse and will not cooperate, they would face a 12-month suspension of their driver’s license.
If they did nothing, the 12-month suspension would actually start after the 10th day following the arrest. Unlike the 6-month suspension for driving with an unlawful blood alcohol level, the period of time that they would have to wait until they apply for a hardship license would be 90 days as opposed to 30 days. It is called a hard time suspension.
However, if it is a first offense, Florida now allows an individual to immediately give up their rights with regards to challenging Ft. Lauderdale DUI license suspension. If they otherwise qualify, the Department of Motor Vehicles would review their case and their history to make sure that there had been no prior DUIs in the individual’s history. If an individual decides that they would give up their administrative rights and accept the administrative suspension, the Department of Motor Vehicles will immediately issue a hardship license for the entire suspension period. This way an individual can get around having to do the hard time suspension (the 30 days of no driving on a 6-month suspension or the 90 days with no driving on a 12-month suspension) and would be given a hardship license immediately.
Not Qualifying for Hardship Waivers
For individuals who do not qualify for the hardship waiver (if they have a prior DUI on their record), the Department of Motor Vehicles would not issue an immediate hardship license. Those individuals would file an administrative challenge to the suspension of the driver’s license. Challenging Ft. Lauderdale DUI license suspension can also be a time-sensitive issue. A challenge has to be filed within the first 10 days and the application for the waiver and the hardship license also have to be filed within the first 10 days.
In a situation where the individual does not qualify for the waiver, they could ask for an administrative hearing to challenge the suspension via a formal or informal review. A formal review is adversarial in nature; informal is not, and would take place at the Department of Motor Vehicles. About 45 days after their request is made, the Department of Motor Vehicles would issue a temporary hardship license or a work permit until the hearing date takes place. If the Department finds that the suspension was not lawful, then the driver’s license is returned. If the hearing officer of the Department of Motor Vehicles finds that the suspension was lawful, then they would continue to impose either the 6-month or the 12-month suspension of the driver’s license.
Filing an Administrative Challenge
If someone qualifies for the waiver, they should file for an administrative challenge so they do not put themselves at risk for being without a license either for the 30-day or the 90-day period. There are some cases where it is clear-cut that the suspension was unlawful for a variety of reasons, e.g., somebody gets arrested in Ft. Lauderdale for DUI. They are asked to take a breathalyzer and register 0.07, which is below the legal limit. The police officer mistakenly takes the driver’s license and initiates the administrative suspension.
Certainly, that person would qualify for a waiver if they gave up their challenging Ft. Lauderdale DUI license suspension rights but, on its face, the officer would have been wrong in that case and the suspension was unlawful. In this situation, an individual would exercise their challenge, forego the waiver, and request an Administrative Hearing (most likely a formal review) where they can argue to the Hearing Officer that the administrative suspension was unlawful and most likely that person would be given their driver’s license back, unrestricted, to the position it was before the arrest took place.