NAPLES DUI LAW – Recent Changes to the DUI Administrative Penalties

NAPLES DUI LAW – Recent Changes to the DUI Administrative Penalties.

Most drivers are surprised to discover that their DUI arrest in Florida actually initiates two separate cases: 1) a criminal case that is prosecuted by the State of Florida; and 2) an administrative case initiated by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV).  The administrative case is completely independent of the criminal DUI case.  Typically, the driver’s license would  be suspended administratively soon after their arrest.  Then, they could potentially face another revocation if they were ultimately convicted of the criminal DUI charge.  The suspension and the revocation would sometimes overlap but it was not uncommon for the DUI criminal revocation to take place several months after the administrative suspension.

Immediately following a DUI arrest, the officer will issue a Florida Uniform Traffic citation charging the driver with DUI (this actually initiates both cases).  While the criminal court date (arraignment) may not be for several weeks, there are only ten days from the date of the arrest to contend with the administrative suspension.  For most drivers, the DUI citation often serves as a temporary driving permit for the ten (10) days following the arrest.  Historically, by requesting an administrative hearing to contest the suspension prior to the end of the ten days, the temporary right to drive for business purposes could be extended for several additional weeks.  This extension could only be requested during those initial ten (10) days.  Thereafter, the right to drive would depend on whether the attorney was successful in invalidating the suspension.  If the attorney was successful, the driver’s administrative suspension was set aside.  If they lost, the driver would immediately subjected to a “hard suspension” where they were unable to drive for any purpose.  Assuming the driver had no prior DUIs, the length of the hard suspension depended on whether or not the driver refused to provide lawful request for breath, urine, or blood;  the suspension was for thirty (30) days if they provided a sample or ninety (90) days if they refused.  When the hard suspension was over, they could request a hardship license for during the remainder of the suspension if they qualified.

As of July 1, 2013, the rules regulating administrative suspensions for DUI arrests have changed.  Certain individuals arrested for DUI after July 1, may now automatically qualify for a hardship license during the entire term of the administrative suspension by waiving their right to an administrative hearing.  Unfortunately, not all individuals will qualify for the automatic hardship, and for those that do, this option will carry its own consequences.  It is advised that drivers arrested for DUI consult with an experienced Collier DUI Attorney to discuss the benefits and consequences of the amendments to the Florida DUI administrative penalties.

Juan Escobar

Naples Criminal Defense Attorney

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