Florida DUI License Suspension (10-Day Rule)
When you are arrested for a DUI, you stand to lose your license immediately. If you refuse to take the official state breath test or if your blood alcohol level is at 0.08% or higher, your license will be suspended at the time of your arrest.
Length of Suspension
Your license can be immediately suspended for one of two reasons when you are arrested for a DUI: if you refuse the breath test or if your blood alcohol content is at or above the legal limit of 0.08%. If you have refused the breath test, your license will be suspended for one year. If you have refused the breath test during a prior DUI arrest, that suspension will be extended to 18 months. If, on the other hand, you submitted to the breath test and your blood alcohol content was at or above the legal limit, your license will be suspended for six months.
10-Day Challenge Rule
You only have 10 days after the day of your arrest to challenge the automatic suspension of your license. Your attorney can act on your behalf to file a Formal Review of the legality of your suspension. Doing so may make it possible for you to continue to drive while your challenge is pending.
The Formal Review
The Formal Review of your license suspension will have many of the earmarks of a courtroom proceeding. Often, the arresting officer as well as the officer who administered or offered the blood test will give their testimony. Your attorney will cross-examine the officers who testify and will also have an opportunity to present evidence that is favorable to your case. Your attorney’s job will be to show that your license was unfairly or illegally suspended and that this decision should be revoked.
If the review ends favorably and your license suspension is lifted, you will immediately receive a full restoration of your driving privileges. In the event that you lose the hearing, your license will be then be under a “hard suspension” which will prohibit you from driving at all. If you submitted to the breath test, your hard suspension will be 30 days. If you refused the breath test, your hard suspension will last for 90 days. After the expiration of the hard suspension, you will need to register for DUI school in order to apply for a hardship license through the Bureau of Administrative Review.
It is important to note that the automatic license suspension and formal review process are part of an administrative license suspension that is imposed by the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles. Note that if you are convicted of a DUI, you may still be subject to a criminal suspension of your license.