Effective July 1, 2013, Florida Law 322.2615 was amended and now provides that, in certain circumstances, a driver who is facing an administrative suspension of his or her driving privileges due to a first time arrest for a driving under the influence (‘DUI’), may now request what is referred to as a “Review for Eligibility for a Restricted Driving Privilege.” This is generally called a “hardship license.” This is an important change to the law and requires a prompt decision.
Previously, if this was the first time you were accused/arrested for DUI, you faced either a six (6) month suspension (if you submitted to a chemical breath test), or a twelve (12) month suspension (if you refused a chemical breath test), and if you did not prevail at a formal review hearing before a DMV hearing officer to contest your driver’s license suspension. In such circumstances, if your license was suspended, you were forced to go without driving for thirty (30) days if you submitted to the breath test, or ninety (90) days if you refused. After that period, you could apply for a “hardship” permit. Now, you may choose not to challenge the suspension at a formal review hearing and precede immediately to having a “hardship” license issued. This option, however, is only available if you have no previous DUI suspensions (in any state), no previous DUI convictions (in any state), nor any license disqualifications under F.S. 322.64.
Please remember, the decision on whether or not to waive a DMV formal review hearing must be made within ten (10) days of your arrest.