How a DUI Impacts Your Driver’s License in Florida

Upon an arrest for DUI in Florida, the law enforcement officer may immediately confiscate your driver’s license. In such cases, you may be issued a temporary driving permit for ten days, and you can challenge the suspension within this period. Your first DUI offense may result in a license revocation for 180 days to one year. The penalty increases as the number of your DUI offenses increases.

Drivers in Florida are expected to adhere to the state’s Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) thresholds. These recommended limits help authorities determine whether a motorist is driving under the influence of alcohol. Motorists who exceed an alcohol limit of 0.08% while driving or in control of a vehicle will be charged with a DUI.

Florida maintains a zero-tolerance policy for Driving Under the Influence (DUI). As a result, a DUI conviction carries steep penalties, including the possibility of incarceration and fines. Beyond this, at-fault motorists often discover that the consequences of DUI may also extend to their driver’s licenses.

This article focuses on the consequences of a DUI charge or conviction as it pertains to your driver’s license in Florida.

What Happens to My License After a Florida DUI Arrest?

Florida’s law mandates an enforcement officer to confiscate a motorist’s license if they were caught driving while impaired. Law enforcement may also seize a driver’s license if they do not agree to a breath, blood, or urine test. In other words, your license will be suspended immediately after a DUI arrest, even if you haven’t been convicted for the crime.

Florida Statute 316.193 highlights the specific license penalties for a DUI in Florida as follows:

  • First DUI offense – revocation for 180 days to one year
  • First DUI offense with bodily injury – at least 3 years’ revocation
  • Second DUI offense within 5 years of past conviction – a minimum of 5 years’ revocation and potential hardship reinstatement after one year
  • Second DUI offense (5 years or more after the first conviction) – same as first offense
  • Third offense (within 10 years of the previous conviction) – same as a first-time offense
  • Fourth conviction – permanent license revocation and hardship reinstatement after five years (revocation occurs after prison release).

Note that DUI cases that result in death may attract more severe penalties.  In addition, the court bans drivers with Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) licenses from driving commercial vehicles for a year if arrested for DUI.

What Happens If I Refuse To Take a Blood or Urine Test?

If arrested for DUI, you are expected to consent to performing and submitting a breath, blood, and urine test. These tests are necessary to determine the level of alcoholic content in your body system. You may decline to take a test if you had an accident involving severe bodily injury or fatality.

Nevertheless, refusing to take a test puts you at risk of the following consequences:

  • The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) may suspend your driving privilege for one year for a first refusal and eighteen months for a second refusal.
  • The refusal to submit a test upon the request of a law enforcement officer is admissible in any criminal proceeding against you.
  • Subsequent refusals may result in a misdemeanor charge.

What are My Options After My Driver’s  License Is Suspended?

Here’s what to do if your driver’s license is suspended following a DUI arrest:

Challenge Your License Suspension

You can hire the services of a criminal defense attorney to request a civil or administrative hearing within 10 days of your arrest. During the administrative hearing, your lawyer will give reasons why your license should not be suspended. They may present evidence and witnesses or find loopholes in the arrest procedure to defend your case.

The outcome of the hearing may lead to your license suspension being sustained or overturned. If the outcome is successful, your license will be reinstated. On the other hand, if it’s unsuccessful, you may appeal by “a petition for writ of certiorari” to your local court.

Waive Your Hearing

You can choose to do nothing about your license suspension. By waiving your right to a hearing, you’ll be automatically disqualified from challenging your suspension.

While this may seem like an unwise choice, it can be a strategic decision that increases your eligibility to apply for a hardship license. With a hardship license, you’ll be able to drive to essential places even though your regular license is suspended.

Request a Hardship Reinstatement

Hardship reinstatement is granted to drivers who must drive for critical purposes, including work, education, or medical reasons. You can request a hardship license for 30 days (or 90 days if you did not perform a blood-alcohol level test). However, you can only obtain limited driving privileges after completing a DUI school.

In addition, you will be required to have an interlock installation ignition (IID) installed in your vehicle if your blood-alcohol level test result is 0.15% or above.

Should You Contact a DUI Defense Attorney If Arrested for DUI?

Now that you know how a DUI impacts your driver’s license in Florida, you may wonder whether you should contact a lawyer for your case. The answer is always a big YES.

Contacting a DUI defense lawyer is one of the most critical steps to take if arrested for DUI.  You need to act swiftly as you have only ten days to appeal a license suspension. It is best to contact a DUI defense lawyer immediately after your arrest to secure timely legal representation.

An experienced DUI defense attorney may help you to prove that:

  • The police did not follow the right procedures for the arrest.
  • There was a miscommunication during the arrest.
  • You had a valid reason for refusing to take the breath, blood, and urine test.

A criminal defense attorney will also help you challenge your license suspension, guide you through hardship reinstatement, and provide adept legal advice along the way.


You’ll find answers to the most frequently asked questions on how a DUI impacts your driver’s license in Florida below:

Am I allowed to drive after a DUI in Florida? 

Your license will be suspended after you have been arrested for a DUI in Florida. However, you may be issued a temporary driving permit within 10 days of your arrest.

How long does a DUI stay on my criminal record in Florida? 

A DUI conviction will stay on your Florida driving record for 75 years if you are convicted of a DUI in Florida. It will also remain in your criminal record forever as Florida makes it impossible to expunge or seal a DUI conviction.

Does a DUI show up on a background check in Florida? 

So long as your DUI conviction remains on your criminal record, it will show up on a background check. This is why it is recommended that you hire an experienced DUI defense lawyer to establish a solid defense if you have been charged with a DUI in Florida.

Can a DUI prevent you from getting a job in Florida? 

A DUI conviction can negatively impact your chances of getting a job. DUI convictions will appear on your criminal record during background checks, which may discourage potential employers.

Do You Need Dependable Legal Representation for Your DUI Case? Contact Us Now!

Having experienced and reliable legal attorneys by your side is crucial to obtaining the desired results for your DUI case. It will increase your chances of getting the charges reduced or dropped.

At Taracks and Associates, we have an experienced team ready to offer you the best legal representation to navigate your DUI case successfully. If the police do not have a substantial reason for pulling you over, we may prove they do not have a case. We’ll also review the breath, blood, and urine test results, represent you during administrative hearings, and guide you through requesting a hardship reinstatement.

Reach out to our team now at 813-281-2897 for a free case review if you or someone you know has been arrested for a DUI offense.

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