The Effect of a DUI on Your Florida Driver’s License
If a Florida driver is arrested for DUI with a BAC above the legal limit, their license is automatically suspended through an administrative suspension by the DHSMV. The administrative suspension time is six months for first-time DUIs, one year for second-time or subsequent DUIs. You only have 10 days after your arrest to demand a formal review hearing by the DHSMV to contest your suspension. If your Tampa DUI attorney, makes a successful argument at this hearing, your suspension may be overturned. Also within ten days of your arrest, you may request a “hardship permit”, which is a permit issued to drivers allowing them to drive to work, school, and religious events. And if you are ultimately convicted of a DUI, you will face an additional drivers license suspension beyond the administrative suspension.
The DUI Criminal Process
The DUI criminal charges will differ depending on whether any property damage resulted from the DUI, or whether anybody was injured or killed. The driver can be charged with aggravated DUI if their BAL is .15% or higher, or if there was a minor in the vehicle, which increases the potential jail time and fine amount. And there are higher penalties for second and third-time DUIs. First-time and second-time DUIs are generally charged as misdemeanors.
The stages of a DUI case are as follows:
- First appearance
- Arraignment: The hearing where you plead guilty, no contest, or not guilty.
- Status hearings
- Evidentiary hearings: If your attorney files motions to suppress evidence or dismiss your case.
- Pretrial conferences
- Trial: Either (1) jury trial or (2) bench trial by the judge.
An aggressive and knowledgeable Tampa DUI lawyer is essential during the criminal process. An attorney can challenge numerous parts of the DUI case, including whether you were lawfully stopped by the police, problems with the breath test, and whether or not you were actually impaired by alcohol. If your DUI case needs to be taken to trial, you could have expert testimony to cast doubt on the results of a blood, breath or urine test. Fighting the case with a superior Tampa DUI lawyer at your side could result in dismissal of the case before trial. Or you could agree to a plea deal and have your charges reduced to reckless driving. The details of the plea deal will also need to be negotiated, and this is where an experienced Tampa DUI attorney will be perfect to leverage his relationships with local prosecutors and judges.