What happens When You Get Arrested for DUI?
Two things happen when you get arrested for a DUI. One is the criminal
charge that we all know goes with a DUI arrest. The other thing that normally
happens is that the police officer takes your drivers license from you and a
suspension is immediately entered.
Two processes begin, one is criminal and one is administrative. They are
unrelated and neither one has an effect on the other.
The administrative suspension
If you are arrested for a DUI and you take a breath test and you blow over .08
the police officer will take your license and you will be suspended for six
months. If you do not have a prior DUI arrest or conviction then you will
have a choice of either requesting what is called a formal review hearing with
the DHSMV or enrolling in DUI school and getting a hardship permit which
is good for the entire six month suspension. You should talk with an
experienced DUI defense attorney before determining which choice you want
If you choose to obtain the hardship license the fact that you blew over a .08
and were suspended for six months will stay on your drivers license record
even if you win the DUI criminal case or it gets dismissed. This may be
important in regards to cost of insurance, future jobs, or other things.
If I request the DHSMV formal review hearing what happens to my license?
If you request the hearing you will receive a hardship permit for
approximately 40 days. A hearing will be set within approximately 30 days.
If you win the hearing the six-month suspension will be lifted and the
administrative procedure is over. If you do not win the hearing, then when
you’re 40 day permit expires you will go into a 30 day period where you
cannot get a hardship license and cannot drive. After that 30 day “no drive”
period, if you have signed up for the DUI school you can get a hardship
permit for the remainder of the suspension period.
What if I refused?
If you refused to take a breath test the same choices on requesting a hearing
or waving the hearing are the same if it is your first DUI. However, the
suspension period is not six months but is one year on a refusal. If you win
the formal review hearing, as with taking a breath test, you will receive your
license back in the remainder of the one year administrative suspension will
be lifted. However, you do not win the formal review hearing you will go
into a 90 day period after your 40 day permit expires where you cannot drive
and cannot get a hardship permit. After the 90 days, if you have taken the
DUI school, you can obtain a hardship permit for the rest of the one year
If you have a prior DUI, you will not have the choice of getting a hardship
permit immediately and you should talk with your attorney about requesting
the DHSMV formal review hearing within 10 days of your arrest. If you do
not request it or make choices above within 10 days then you will not get a
temporary permit until you sent out a period of time without driving.
How does the administrative suspension affect my DUI case?
It does not affect your DUI case except if you have the hearing and your
attorney finds out some information in the hearing that will help in the
defense of your DUI case. You should discuss these choices and this
possibility with your Pinellas County DUI defense attorney.
Is there a separate suspension for the criminal charge of DUI?
There is a separate suspension in court if you are convicted of the DUI or
plead to the DUI. On a first time DUI conviction that suspension is a
minimum of six months up to one year. Very often your defense attorney can
keep the suspension down to six months. If you received an administrative
suspension it takes place immediately. The suspension on a DUI conviction
does not start until the conviction in court. The suspensions will run
concurrently, or at the same time. One may end before the other, but you
must complete both suspension periods before you can obtain a full driving
What is different about the criminal charge that goes to a Judge?
The criminal charge of DUI carries with it other potential penalties including
the possibility of jail time, probation, community service, an interlock device,
or other conditions of probation that you should discuss with your defense
attorney. A DUI conviction has longer lasting effects than many other types
of criminal convictions. A DUI conviction will stay on your driving record
for 75 years. The penalty, including the amount of suspension time for your
license, increases for each subsequent DUI conviction you receive.
Administratively, if you have a prior refusal, even if you won the original
DUI case, and you refuse on the second DUI you will get a longer
administrative suspension and you will not be eligible for a hardship permit
for the entire suspension period.
The many nuances DUI laws
The DUI laws seem to be ever-changing. The consequences of a DUI arrest
are different from the arrest on many types of criminal cases. Similarly, a
conviction on a DUI can have other types of effects than many other criminal
charges. For that reason, it is important that you, at the very least, sit down
and speak with an experienced Pinellas County DUI defense attorney who
can explain these nuances to you and relate them to your particular situation
and your particular arrest. The advice in your case and your choices may be
different than in someone else’s case.
Our consultations are free and confidential. You should set up this
consultation within 10 days from the date of your arrest to avoid missing out
on choices and decisions that must be made within 10 days from the date of
the arrest. We would be glad to help you. Larry Sandefer has over 35 years of
experience in DUI cases and has worked for the state attorney’s office in
Pinellas and Pasco County where he was a senior supervisor. You can put
his experience and knowledge to work for you. The initial consultation is
free and there is no obligation. If you retain Mr. Sandefer you will find his
fees are and terms are reasonable.