Florida DUI FAQs

Adam Rossen draws on his years in the prosecutor’s office to offer his perspective on many of the most common questions about DUI in Florida. Take a few moments to find out his thoughts and gain helpful tips with these answers.

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  • Do I have to put a breathalyzer in my car if I’m convicted of DUI?

    If it’s your first DUI and you blew under a .150 or refused the test, then in most cases you won’t have to put a breathalyzer in your car.

    However if it’s your first DUI and you blew over a .150, then upon conviction you will be required to install the breathalyzer in your car for 6 months.

     

    For all second DUI convictions in Florida you will have to install the breathalyzer in your car for one to two years depending on the circumstances.

  • Can I be arrested and convicted of DUI if I’m sleeping in my car?

    Yes, you can and will be arrested for DUI if you’re found sleeping in the driver’s seat of a car. You don’t have to be driving to get a DUI. According to Florida law you can be arrested for DUI as long as you have actual physical control of the vehicle. 

     

    What that means is that you have to be physically in the vehicle and be able to operate it. So if you’re sleeping in the driver’s seat and the car keys are in the ignition, or on the seat next to you, or even in your pocket, you are legally considered to have actual physical control of the car and can still be arrested for DUI.

     

    However if you’re sleeping in the backseat and the keys are far from you—like in the glove box, that wouldn’t be considered actual physical control.

  • Do I have to do the Field Sobriety Exercises?

    Throughout the course of a DUI investigation you are not legally required to do anything. And there is no legal penalty for refusing to do the field sobriety exercises. You won’t lose your license for saying no here. 

     

    If you refuse to do the tests, you’ll probably be arrested. But once the officer started the investigation, you were very likely to be arrested anyway—even if you managed to ace the field sobriety exercises, which is very unlikely. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen sober people fail them.

     

    So remember, there is no legal penalty for refusing, and in many cases it’s in your best interest to just say no.

  • Do I have to give a breath test?

    The most important thing to remember during a DUI investigation is that you don’t HAVE to do anything. So no, you don’t have to blow.

     

    There are penalties for refusing the breath test, and that’s what the officer asking for it is going to try and scare you with. 

     

    If it’s your first time refusing, the penalty is a one year suspension of your driver’s license, and if it’s your second time refusing it’s an 18 month suspension of your license. For a second refusal the prosecution could also charge you with an additional crime.

     

    However what the police don’t tell you is that if you decide to blow and you’re over the legal limit of .08, your license will be suspended for 6 months and you’ve just given the prosecution solid evidence against you.

     

    If you don’t blow and your license is suspended, you still have 10 days from the time of your arrest to petition the DMV for a hardship license—meaning you probably won’t lose your ability to drive.

  • Will I be un-arrested if blow under .08?

    Not a chance. 

     

    Sounds crazy, right? You blew under the limit, case closed. Unfortunately not. 

     

    You’ve already been arrested on the roadside for DUI based on the police officer’s opinion that you were impaired, and unfortunately the laws allow them to continue to persecute—I mean PROSECUTE you even if you are under the legal limit.

     

    So instead of letting you go, the police will proceed to further investigate. They’ll think that if you weren’t drunk you must have taken drugs and now ask for a urine sample. Now, we all know drug tests pick up what’s in your system for a while—usually a few weeks time. The bad news for you is if you smoked a joint last weekend at your friends party, it could now be used against you in a DUI case even though it had no effect on your driving.

     

    This is one of the reasons why there’s almost never any incentive to give a breath test. You don’t want to open yourself up to further investigation.

  • What is a hardship license?

    A hardship license is a special license the DMV can grant you for the duration of your driver’s license suspension from your DUI charge that will allow you to drive for anything necessary to maintain your life or your livelihood. This includes driving to and from work, school, religious services, and grocery shopping.

  • It’s my first DUI—will I go to jail?

    No result is ever guaranteed, and no lawyer should ever tell you that it is. While it is very unlikely that you will go to jail for your first DUI, it is still a possibility. 

     

    The maximum penalty for a first DUI is six months to a full year in jail depending on the breath test results and whether there was a crash involved.

     

    There are many ways to fight and beat a DUI case and avoid jail time.

  • What is the 10-day rule for DUI in Florida?

    Florida law is unique in how it addresses DUI and driving privileges. If you’ve been arrested for a DUI in Florida, you only have 10 days to save your license.

    Your driver’s license is immediately suspended upon your arrest for DUI. For the next 10 days, you may drive only to work or for business purposes using your ticket as a permit. At the end of those 10 days, your license will be fully  suspended, suspended with work privileges, or reinstated—depending in part upon your actions.

    Take Action During the 10-Day Window to Retain Driving Privileges

    First-time offenders have two options during the 10-day window. These options are:

    • Request an administrative hearing (formal or informal). The purpose of this hearing is to determine if the officer had probable cause to arrest you for a DUI. You will receive a 42-day business-purpose-only license—also called a “hardship” license—immediately. If the hearing is lost, it could trigger a 30- or 90–day waiting period to get another Hardship license. If the hearing is won, your license could be reinstated.
       
    • Forfeit your right to a review hearing in exchange for an immediate business-purpose-only license. This license lasts the entire duration of the six- or 12-month suspension for a first-time DUI. You must also enroll in DUI school before you can get the immediate hardship license.

    Florida drivers who have previously been convicted of a DUI are not eligible for a hardship license. This means they may only pursue the first option. Additionally, a driver who takes no action during the 10-day window will have his driver’s license suspended for at least six months or more, depending on the circumstances of the arrest and the driver’s criminal history.

    An experienced Florida DUI attorney can help examine your situation and your rights to find the most effective way forward. Contact Adam Rossen at Rossen Law Firm today. He has helped countless individuals in Broward County retain their driving privileges and wants to hear from you. Take a moment to fill out the contact form on this page, or call our office nearest you.

  • How long will a DUI stay on my Florida driving record?

    The state of Florida has very strict laws when it comes to driving under the influence. Individuals who are convicted face fines, loss of licensure, and jail time—even for first-time offenses. The rules are similarly harsh when it comes to your driving and criminal record.

    Expunging or Sealing Your DUI Conviction in Florida

    A DUI conviction in Florida will stay on your criminal history forever and cannot be expunged or sealed. A conviction will also stay on your Florida driver’s license for 75 years. Additionally, the state prohibits the withholding of adjudication in these cases. In some states, it is possible to avoid a formal conviction by completing some form of punishment; while the charge is not dropped, it does not appear as a conviction on one’s record. While Florida permits withholding of adjudication for some offenses, intoxicated driving offenses are not included.

    Ramifications of the DUI Conviction on Your Permanent Record

    All this means that a Florida DUI conviction can follow you for the rest of your life. Even years later, it can make it difficult to:

    • Obtain employment
    • Maintain employment
    • Obtain professional licensure
    • Obtain certain types of insurance
    • Obtain approval for housing

    An Experienced DUI Attorney Can Help Fight Your DUI Charge Today

    As a result, it is important to take action as soon as possible after a DUI arrest. Because the charge cannot be removed or hidden, it is best to have the offense dropped or reduced right at the start. An experienced Florida DUI attorney understands what is at stake and can help you effectively fight your charge and protect your future.

    At Rossen Law Firm, DUI lawyer and former prosecutor Adam Rossen has helped many individuals all over Broward County obtain the best available legal outcomes. Call Adam today at his office nearest you to learn more about how he may be able to help and to schedule a free strategy session.

  • Can I drive after I’ve been arrested for DUI in Florida?

    The short answer is yes. It is possible to continue to drive after you’ve been arrested on a DUI charge. However, you likely will not enjoy normal driving privileges. Florida is strict even for first-time offenders, and there are specific rules and deadlines that must be met in order to continue driving.

    Florida’s 10-Day Rule

    In Florida, if you are arrested for DUI, your license will be suspended immediately. You may drive during the subsequent 10 days using your DUI ticket as a temporary permit to drive only to work. These “business purpose only” (or “hardship”) privileges are good only for those 10 days immediately following your arrest.

    During that time, however, you may request an administrative hearing with the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. At the hearing, officials will decide if law enforcement was justified in suspending your license. It is possible the suspension will be lifted at this hearing.

    If it is determined that law enforcement was correct, you may see your license suspended for a period of months or years, depending on the unique circumstances of your case. If you fail to request a hearing within the 10-day window, your license will certainly be suspended.

    Hardship License or for Business Purposes Only

    Even if your license is suspended, you may not lose your driving privileges completely. The hardship license can be extended for the duration of the suspension of your regular license if you meet certain criteria, including:

    • It’s your first DUI arrest. Florida law does not allow anyone but first-time DUI offenders to obtain a hardship license.
       
    • You enroll in a DUI program. The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles states these courses “provide education, a psychosocial evaluation, and treatment referral services to DUI offenders.” It is possible to obtain a hardship license before you have fully completed the course, as long as you are enrolled.
       
    • You install an ignition interlock device. While this is not required in all cases, it is often stipulated that the driver must use an ignition interlock device to start and run his vehicle. These devices force a driver to check his BAC level to start the car and to continue to check periodically to keep the car going. These devices can be very expensive,

    An experienced Florida DUI attorney can help you understand your rights and help fight to retain driving privileges. If you’ve been arrested for DUI in Florida, you must take action quickly to give yourself the best possible chance at avoiding a license suspension. In Broward County, contact Rossen Law Firm to learn more about your options.