Getting pulled over for driving under the influence (DUI) in Florida can have adverse consequences, regardless of whether or not you are ultimately convicted of any crime. In some situations involving drunk driving, you could face an immediate driver license suspension. Fortunately, you have the opportunity to contest a license suspension and the option of retaining a St. Petersburg DUI lawyer to represent you during any administrative or criminal proceedings. At Blake & Dorsten, P.A., we realize that losing your license could jeopardize your job, employment opportunities, and personal freedom. We can identify whether any defenses may prevent you from losing your license or allow you to have your driving privileges reinstated.Administrative License Suspension for a DUI in Florida
To combat the dangers of drunk driving, Florida has provided for the immediate administrative suspension of a person’s driving privileges following their arrest in certain situations. One situation is a DUI refusal. If you are arrested for driving under the influence, the police officer may ask that you provide a breath, blood, or urine sample for chemical testing to determine your blood alcohol concentration (BAC). Under Florida’s implied consent law, drivers have effectively agreed to submit to approved chemical testing when they accept the privilege of driving. If you do not agree to a chemical test after you are given the implied consent warning, it is considered a DUI refusal. A DUI refusal triggers the immediate suspension of your driver license. For a first-time DUI refusal, the administrative license suspension period is one year. For second and subsequent DUI refusals, your license may be suspended for 18 months.
Your Florida driver license is also subject to an administrative suspension if you agree to take a chemical test and the results indicate that your BAC level is above the legal limit. For most drivers, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle with a BAC level of .08% or higher in Florida. An adult driver with a BAC level of .08% or more faces a six-month administrative license suspension for a first time offense, effective immediately. Any subsequent violations may result in a one-year suspension period. Drivers under the age of 21 may have their license suspended for driving with a BAC level of .02% or higher.
Generally, an administrative license suspension for DUI goes into effect immediately. In most cases, the police officer will issue a temporary permit to the driver, which is valid for ten days from the date of arrest. You may challenge an administrative suspension by requesting a formal review hearing within ten days. Some of the defenses that may invalidate a suspension include an illegal traffic stop or lack of probable cause for the DUI arrest.License Revocation for a DUI Conviction
If you are convicted of a DUI offense, you could face jail time, probation, community service, fines, and other penalties. In most cases, the court will order a license revocation period that runs concurrently with an administrative suspension. For a first-time DUI, this period may be between six months and one year. If the DUI offense involved an injury to another person, however, you are subject to a minimum three-year license revocation period imposed by the court. The revocation period increases for significantly for subsequent DUI convictions. A second DUI within five years could mean losing your license for a minimum of five years. For a third DUI within ten years of the second conviction, the revocation period is a minimum of ten years. If you are convicted of a fourth DUI, no matter how long ago the prior DUIs occurred, your license may be permanently revoked. It is important to note that if your license has been suspended for a DUI, you may be eligible to have your driving privileges reinstated for business or employment purposes if certain requirements are met. To determine your eligibility for a hardship reinstatement, discuss your case with a qualified DUI attorney.Contact a St. Petersburg Lawyer to Fight a License Suspension for DUI
At Blake & Dorsten, P.A., our St. Petersburg defense attorneys can help you seek to get your license back or fight a DUI suspension. We have successfully represented individuals in administrative and criminal proceedings throughout Pinellas County, including Tampa Bay, Clearwater, St. Petersburg, and other cities. Schedule a consultation with one of our knowledgeable attorneys by calling our office at 727-286-6141 or submitting our contact form online.