Florida takes a hardline stance on drunk driving. An arrest for driving under the influence (DUI) can result in an automatic driver license suspension, even before a conviction. Fortunately, many people can qualify for a hardship license, which grants driving privileges for employment and other specific needs. At Blake & Dorsten, P.A., we understand that losing your right to drive can impact many aspects of your life, including your ability to get to work. Our St. Petersburg DUI lawyers can provide guidance for drivers seeking a hardship license, as well as defend you against criminal charges for drunk or drugged driving.Florida DUI Hardship License
If you are arrested for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol in Florida, you will likely face a driver license suspension as a consequence of the arrest. An administrative suspension may be imposed immediately for driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) level above the legal limit, or for refusing to take a chemical test to determine your BAC level. It is important to note that you may challenge an administrative license suspension by requesting a formal hearing within ten days of the arrest. If you are ultimately convicted of a DUI offense, your license will likely be revoked for a period that runs concurrently with the administrative suspension. In many cases, however, people are permitted to drive for certain purposes during a DUI suspension and/or revocation by obtaining a hardship license.
A hardship license is a driver license that allows you to drive in limited situations in order to maintain your livelihood. Typically, a hardship license allows driving to and from work and necessary on-the-job driving. It may also permit driving for educational purposes, driving for church, and driving for medical purposes. Not everyone is eligible for a hardship license. Eligibility and the conditions necessary to obtain it depend on the type of violation, the applicant’s criminal history, and potentially other factors. For example, a first DUI conviction and two prior suspensions for DUI refusal, failure to pay child support, or a current license revocation for felony possession of a controlled substance while driving are issues that could make you ineligible for a hardship license. Due to these various considerations, consulting with a DUI attorney can help you determine the precise requirements based on the details of your situation.Obtaining a Hardship License
Generally, most individuals who have never been convicted of a DUI are eligible for a hardship license if their license was suspended for driving with a BAC level over the legal limit, or for a first-time DUI refusal. After submitting an Application for Hardship License and showing proof of enrollment in DUI school, a hearing will be conducted by a hearing officer from the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. The hearing officer will ask the applicant a number of questions to determine whether a hardship license should be granted. If the request is denied, the applicant will have to serve the suspension period.
In some situations, obtaining a hardship license with one or two prior DUI convictions may be possible. Typically, the applicant must complete DUI school before hardship reinstatement. The applicant will likely be subject to additional conditions, such as installation of an ignition interlock device on their vehicle, a DUI supervision program, and/or a mandatory waiting period before applying for hardship reinstatement.Consult with a DUI Lawyer in St. Petersburg About a Hardship License
The requirements for a hardship license can seem confusing, but a St. Petersburg attorney with experience handling DUI case can navigate you through the process and address any issues. At Blake & Dorsten, P.A., we are prepared to answer your questions and assist you in seeking a hardship license. We represent individuals in DUI proceedings and other criminal cases in Tampa Bay, Clearwater, St. Petersburg, and many other locations in Pinellas County. To arrange a consultation with a skilled DUI attorney, contact Blake & Dorsten by phone at (727) 286-6141 or online.