1. WHAT IS THE FIRST THING THAT I NEED TO DO AFTER BEING ARRESTED FOR DUI?
After you are arrested for DUI, you must set a court date with the Clerk of the Court within ten days. You must also request a hearing with the Department of Motor Vehicles within ten days so that you can receive a business purpose license if you are eligible. My office, if retained within ten days of your arrest, will take care of these important first steps for you.
2. WHY DID THE OFFICER TAKE MY DRIVER’S LICENSE?
There are two reasons why the officer might have kept your license. If you took the breath test and the result was over .08% then the Department of Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) revoked your license for six months. If you refused the breath test then the DHSMV revoked your license for one year for the first refusal, or eighteen months for a second refusal of a breath test.
3. CAN I DRIVE WITH MY DUI CITATION?
If you had a valid driver’s license at the time you were arrested then you can drive for ten days with your citation acting as your license. You must keep the DUI citation with you during these ten days as if it were your license.
4. CAN I GET A PERMIT TO DRIVE AFTER THE TEN DAYS EXPIRES?
The DHSMV allows you to drive for the first ten days so that you have time to request a review of the suspension of your license. When you retain my office on a DUI case within the first ten days after your arrest we request a hearing to challenge the suspension of your license. Once I do this, the DHSMV will give you a business permit as long as you had a valid license at the time of your arrest. Your business permit must be kept with you at all times as if it were your license. If you violate the terms of the business purpose license, you will be charged with a new criminal offense for violation of a restricted license. This permit is only a piece of paper and not a photo I.D. You should consider getting a Florida I.D. card during this time. Identification cards may be obtained from the DMV.
5. HOW LONG WILL THIS PERMIT LAST?
The permit will last until the DHSMV makes a decision about the suspension of your license. This normally takes anywhere from 30-45 days.
6. WHAT HAPPENS AFTER THE DHSMV MAKES A DECISION ABOUT MY LICENSE?
If the DHSMV sets aside your suspension, then you will be able to get your regular license back free of charge from the DMV pending the outcome of your criminal case. If the DHSMV upholds your license suspension, then your license will be suspended for the time period applicable to an above .08% intoxilyzer result or a first or second refusal.
7. IF THE DHSMV UPHOLDS MY SUSPENSION WILL I BE ABLE TO GET ANOTHER PERMIT?
Under most circumstances you can get another permit once you complete certain requirements, such as DUI School (form attached), a suspension known as “hard suspension.” (An above legal limit intoxilyzer blow is usually 30 days for a first time refusal it is 90 days). If it is a second or greater offense, you will not be eligible for st st further permits. On the 31 day or on the 91 day following said “hard suspension” period you may apply for a hardship license through the DHSMV.
8. WILL I HAVE TO GO TO COURT?
DUI is a criminal charge and you will have to go to court at least once. However, if you retain my office, I can attend most of your court dates without you having to attend.
9. HOW CAN AN ATTORNEY HELP ME?
My office will set your court date, and request a review of your driver’s license suspension. I will assist you in getting a permit to drive for work and fight to get your license back. I will attend all of your court dates and request all the discovery/evidence in your case. I will get a copy of all police reports and any videotapes. This usually takes 15 days after I have made an appearance in your case. Sometimes it takes longer because the prosecutor often does not even see your file until the first court date. If you took a breath test, I will get the information related to the breath test in your case. I will then review all this information with you so that we can defend you in your DUI. If applicable I will file any and all motions necessary to try and have evidence suppressed to have your case dismissed. The type of motion filed, if any, will vary on case-by-case basis. I will also enter into plea negotiations with the State Attorney’s Office in an attempt to minimize your exposure to penalties and/or have your DUI charge reduced to a reckless driving charge. If necessary, I will have the case set for trial and defend you at such trial in an attempt to obtain a not guilty verdict.
10. IF I WANT TO PLEAD GUILTY TO DUI, DO I NEED AN ATTORNEY?
Even if you want to plead guilty or no contest an attorney will help you with the process of getting your license back. Also, many times when someone thinks that they have no defense to the DUI charge, an experienced DUI criminal defense attorney can find a problem with the State’s case. Also, an attorney can negotiate with the Prosecutor so that you will know what is going to happen to you if you plead guilty or no contest and try to minimize the affect on you life.
11. IS IT POSSIBLE MY CASE CAN BE REDUCED TO A LESSER CHARGE, LIKE RECKLESS DRIVING?
DUI cases are sometimes dismissed or reduced to a lesser charge. However, every case is different and an attorney will need to review all of the evidence before rendering an opinion on this question.
12. HOW CAN I BE CHARGED, WHEN I BLEW UNDER THE LEGAL LIMIT?
The State can still charge you with DUI and proceed under the theory that your normal faculties are impaired. Remember the State can prove a DUI in two ways: A) Above a .08%. B) That you were operating a motor vehicle and your normal faculties were impaired. Also, many times if you blew under the legal limit, the police officer will try to collect a urine sample to see if you are under the influence of drugs or other controlled substances.
13. WHAT IS DUI SCHOOL?
DUI School is a twelve-hour course required by the Court if you are convicted of a DUI and often if you accept a plea agreement for reckless driving. DUI School will also be required before you can receive your hardship license if your license was suspended for either a blow above .08 or a refusal. (This only applies to first time offenders). DUI School will require you to be evaluated for drugs and alcohol and treatment may be required by the school. This is at an additional cost to you and if not completed then your license will remain suspended.