Have you or someone you know been arrested for drunk driving? Do you have questions about how the Tampa courts or DMV handle the DUI process? If you've been arrested for driving under the influence in Florida, this can have an effect on your driving privileges in a few different ways. A DUI is twofold in this state. First, there is the criminal aspect of a case and then there is an administrative aspect to the case. Both are distinct, but both are direct results of a DUI arrest.
The criminal side of the case deals with the criminal charge while the administrative side deals strictly with your license and whether or not it will be suspended. Our Tampa DUI defense attorneys at Taracks & Associates can assist you with both the criminal proceedings and the DHSMV hearing.
Upon an arrest for suspicion of DUI, law enforcement can take you in for a chemical breath test. If you take the test and the results show that you have a .08 percent or higher, then your license can automatically be suspended ten days later for a total of six months. Those who refuse any type of chemical test, breath, blood or urine, will have their license suspended for one year. For any second or subsequent refusal of a chemical test, the penalty is an 18-month license suspension.
If you have been arrested and charged with a DUI after blowing a .08 percent or higher, then you and your lawyer can petition for a DMV hearing, so long as this is done within ten days of the arrest. Your suspension will then be in a state of "pending" until the DMV hearing. In the meantime, you will get a temporary driving permit. This will only be valid 42 days and allows a person limited driving privileges such as driving to work, and school.
If your lawyer is successful at the DMV hearing and proves that your suspension was not valid, you will get your license restored to you. If the DMV chooses not to restore your license, then for 30 days you cannot drive because either you blew over a .08 BAC or your license will go into automatic suspension for 90 days because you refused a chemical test. At the end of either this 30 or 90 day period, you can petition for another temporary permit. If successful, you will have limited permission to drive to places such as school, work, etc. After the full period of your license suspension is over, you can petition for a full reinstatement.
Next is the criminal aspect of your DUI case. A first-time DUI conviction requires that a person's driver's license be suspended for six months. Depending on when your criminal case is actually resolved, this may or may not overlap with your DMV suspension. If you are convicted for a second DUI within five years of your first, then Court orders will require a license suspension for five years. In some cases, a DUI can be reduced to a charge of reckless driving. In this case, you will not have to face any Court suspension.
Overall, you are not without hope when it comes to driving after a DUI. Act fast, within ten days of your arrest, and challenge your DMV license suspension in hopes of receiving a temporary permit. Even those who are not successful at the DMV hearing can petition for a second temporary permit after serving 30 or 90 days of suspension (depending on your charges).
By having an experienced Tampa criminal defense attorney on your side, you may be able to get your charges reduced or even dismissed outright. As a repercussion of a dismissed case, you could save thousands of dollars that you would have had to spend in court costs, DUI fines and higher insurance rates.