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.