Getting a license suspension following a traffic violation and having your license revoked following a DUI conviction in Florida could seem like the same thing to the uninitiated. But the reality is that the two-state actions against your driver’s license are very different.
A suspended driver’s license means that a person’s legal driving privileges are invalidated for a set period of time at the end of which it will be reinstated. When a person’s license is revoked, the license is invalidated indefinitely. It’s gone. If the revocation is ordered to be for a set period of time, that merely means the driver can then begin the process of seeking the issuance of a valid license. There’s no guarantee the license will be recovered.
When a DUI conviction is the cause of a revoked driver’s license, there are steps an experienced DUI defense attorney can take to assist a person for whom the loss of the license creates a special hardship. However, the best way for a person charged with a DUI to keep their driver’s license is to contact a skilled DUI defense attorney as soon as they are arrested.
Attorneys Ben Stechschulte and Amy Nell in Tampa are both Certified Criminal Defense Lawyers and they devote a large part of their practice to representing people facing DUI or Refusal of Chemical Test charges.
Administrative Suspension v. Criminal Revocation
An arrest for DUI or a charge of Refusal of a Breathalyzer will result in an administrative suspension of the accused’s driver’s license. The suspension is intended to temporarily restrict the defendant’s driving until the charges are resolved. Within ten days of the date, the suspension is imposed, and the driver or their lawyer may file a request for an administrative hearing. The hearing offers an opportunity to obtain a hardship license permitting the defendant to drive only to and from work, doctor’s appointments, school, or other specified obligations.
Administrative suspensions for DUI are imposed pretrial or predisposition, meaning criminal charges are pending. Convictions for DUI and other criminal offenses result in revocations. And repeat offenders will suffer substantially longer periods of license revocation, often twice the length of the previous sentence.
DUI Driver’s License Revocations
Florida statutes dictate the strict terms and lengths of driver’s license revocations following convictions for various criminal offenses.
Under F.S. 322.28, periods of license revocation for a DUI conviction are as follows:
- DUI 1st Offense —License Revoked for not less than 6 months, nor more than 1 year,
- DUI 2nd Offense in 5 Years — 5 Year License Revocation
- DUI 3rd Offense in 10 Years — 10 Year License Revocation
- DUI 4th Offense — Permanent Revocation of Driver’s License
- DUI with Serious Bodily Injury Resulting — Minimum 3-Year License Revocation
- DUI Manslaughter — Permanent Revocation of Driver’s License
Note: Any previous DUI or Refusal conviction that occurred in any other state within the periods specified counts as a previous conviction in Florida for purposes of determining the length of the license revocation.
Bail Forfeiture Can Result in Maximum Driver’s License Revocation
Bail is set to secure the release of a charged defendant to ensure they keep the peace and remain on good behavior while the case is pending and to guarantee the defendant shows up for court. If the charged defendant out on bail fails to appear for court when they’re scheduled to attend, the bail can be forfeited to the state.
Typically, if a person’s failure to appear for court when scheduled is forgiven because it was the result of reasonable circumstances, bail forfeiture orders are vacated, and the bail is reinstated. If a bail forfeiture order in a DUI case is not vacated within 20 days, then the statute provides that the forfeiture shall be treated as a conviction and the defendant’s license will be revoked for the maximum period for a 1st offense (6 mos.), and the minimum period for any 2nd or subsequent convictions.
DUI and License Revocation Defense Lawyers Can Help with License Reinstatement
Losing your right to drive in contemporary society is a great disadvantage and can affect everything from being able to keep a job to providing transportation for your kids to get to or from baseball practice or dance classes after school. Without a license to drive, even marketing goes from being a simple chore to a challenge that may take hours longer to complete than it would with a driver’s license.
DUI 1st Offense Reinstatement: If your first offense DUI conviction involves no special circumstances, then you have a good chance of getting your license reinstated without professional help. That statement holds true if you completed the DUI school and any other conditions of your sentence. If your conviction included a blood alcohol content of 0.15 or higher, then your license reinstatement will be conditional upon your installing an Ignition Interlock Device on your vehicle.
DUI 2nd Offense Reinstatement: A second conviction within 5 years will result in a 5-year license revocation. But you may apply for reinstatement after only 1 year. However, success will depend on your having already completed the DUI education program, and being able to demonstrate that you have not consumed alcohol or drugs for the past year. That will require presenting records of random urine or blood tests. You will also need to submit to DUI supervision and install an Ignition Interlock Device for at least 1 year, longer if your BAC was 0.15 or higher.
DUI 3rd Offense Reinstatement: The 10-year license revocation imposed for a 3rd DUI offense within 10 years can be lifted after a period of 2 years. Your petition for reinstatement requires proof that you abstained from alcohol or drugs for at least the past year, that you completed the DUI retraining program, and you will be required to install the Ignition Interlock Device for at least 2 years.
License Reinstatement After Permanent Revocation
Although the state does enforce permanent revocations of driver’s licenses in cases it deems appropriate, a permanent revocation can be lifted by a driver who petitions for reinstatement after a period of 5 years.
As you might guess, a permanent license revocation is challenging to overcome. Experienced DUI and License Revocation attorneys are practiced in gathering the necessary supporting material. These revocations are imposed only after a conviction involving either conviction for a DUI manslaughter or possibly a DUI with serious bodily injury. The authorities being asked to reinstate the DUI felon’s license need a lot of convincing.
At a minimum, a person whose license is permanently revoked needs to be free of any new offenses related to drugs or alcohol. If there is evidence that the petitioner was caught driving a car during their period of revocation, the petition will be denied. And predictably, any license reinstatement would be conditioned on the completion of the DUI program, continued DUI supervision, and an Ignition Interlock Device in their vehicle for at least 2 years.
Learn More > License Reinstatement After a DUI
Get Experienced DUI Defense Before Your Driver’s License is Revoked
The best way to resolve a revoked license following a DUI conviction is to prevent the DUI conviction in the first place. DUI defense attorneys have valuable experience in defeating DUI prosecutions and obtaining dismissals, amendments to lesser charges, or acquittals for their DUI clients.
Call Stechschulte Nell today for a DUI case review; 813-280-1244.