There is no doubt that a Florida DUI conviction will have a serious impact on your future. Losing your license could also mean losing your job. That is why it is so important to fight back when you are charged with DUI, even if the evidence against you is irrefutable.
There are multiple defenses that may be available to you, including arguing that it was an illegal arrest or a faulty field sobriety test. The most important thing you can do after a DUI arrest is to contact a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Talking to an attorney right away could mean you have a chance at keeping your license.
Your License Will Be Suspended Immediately
In Florida, if you are arrested for driving under the influence, your license will be suspended immediately if either of the following occurs:
- Your blood alcohol content (BAC) is determined to be .08 percent or higher by a breath, blood, or urine test.
- You refuse to take a sobriety test in the field or at the police station.
The law enforcement officer will confiscate your license immediately—before you talk to a lawyer or see a judge. It does not matter if the arrest was illegal or if you had a reason for refusing the sobriety test. You will still be able to drive your car using the DUI ticket as your license, but only for 10 days from the date of your arrest and only for business purposes, which include the following:
- Driving to and from work
- Going to the grocery store
- Going to church
- Driving to court or to your lawyer’s office
In order to potentially save your license, you will have to challenge the suspension of your license with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) within 10 days from the date of your arrest. This is not much time at all, so you must act quickly to hire a lawyer.
Florida’s 10-Day Rule for DUI
A Florida DUI will result in two separate actions. The first is the administrative suspension of your license by the DMV, and the second is a criminal charge handled by the court. These two matters must be handled separately, but you should work with a DUI defense attorney in both situations. To be able to continue to drive for business purposes until your trial, you will have to challenge the administrative suspension of your driver’s license within 10 days. Your attorney may be able to present compelling evidence of one or more of the following:
- You were unlawfully stopped or arrested.
- You did not refuse a sobriety test.
- Your BAC test results were inaccurate.
If the DMV administrative judge agrees, he or she may issue you a 42-day hardship license so that you can continue to drive for business purposes until your trial. If this is your first DUI arrest, you could also forfeit your right to an administrative review hearing in exchange for a hardship license for the duration of your six or 12-month suspension. If you have been previously convicted of a DUI, however, your only option will be to request an administrative hearing and hope you can win it.
It is important to be aware that if you do nothing in the 10-day period after your arrest, your license will be suspended for six months or more, depending on the charges and your DUI arrest record. You will not be able to drive for any reason during your suspension.
Time Is of the Essence
Even though your criminal hearing may be weeks or months away, it is essential that you act immediately to try to save your license. It could mean the difference between keeping your job and a much bleaker future.
When you contact the DUI defense team at Browning Law Firm, we will take action immediately to try to save your license. Call our office as soon as possible after your arrest. There is no time to lose when your license and your livelihood are at stake.