Driving on a DUI Suspended License in Florida

Your DUI conviction or your refusal to submit to testing your blood alcohol content will lead to a license suspension. You’ll make a bad situation worse if you continue to drive and are arrested again.

With the help of your Tampa DUI attorney, that suspension may be limited. That way, you can drive without worrying about an arrest.

Why Would Someone Drive with a Suspended License?

Even with a suspended license, you need to live your life. You have a job, family, friends, and places you want to go. Mass transit may not be a good option, depending on where you live. You may not have enough money to use a taxi, Uber, or Lyft to get you around. You can rely on friends and family only so much when you need a ride.

You may think that if you drive safely and keep your head down, you won’t be pulled over. That may sound like a plan, but life gets in the way. You may not drive as safely as you think. Another vehicle may cause an accident, and the investigating officer will need to see your license.

Although you may get away with it for a little while, your luck might run out. This leads to a vicious cycle of constant offenses that get harder and harder to put behind you. It may get to the point where you can’t even get a valid license anymore.

What Happens to My License After a DUI?

If you’re convicted of DUI in Florida, your license can be suspended, an ignition interlock device may be installed, or your vehicle may be immobilized through an administrative process.

How Long Will My License Be Suspended?

The length of your license suspension will depend on prior convictions. Your license may be suspended from six to 12 months for your first DUI conviction. If you’re convicted again within five years, your license will be suspended for at least five years.

Refusing a Breathalyzer Test

If you’re pulled over and refuse to take a breathalyzer test, your license will be taken away and suspended for a year. If you agree to a test that shows your blood alcohol level (BAC) is 0.08% or higher, you lose your license immediately.

Challenging Your License Suspension

The administrative license suspension doesn’t take effect until ten days after your DUI arrest. During this time, your DUI citation acts as a temporary license. If you challenge your suspension during those 10 days, you get a 42-day hardship license and a hearing with an administrative judge for the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV).

You May Be Eligible for a Hardship License

At the hearing with the administrative judge, we can present evidence showing the suspension is improper. Another option may be to waive your right to the Formal Review Process and seek a hardship or business purposes only (BPO) license.

These licenses allow you to legally drive to and from:

  • Work
  • Church
  • The grocery store
  • Medical treatment

You’re more likely to get such a license if this is your first DUI. If you’re caught driving to or from another place, you risk arrest for driving with a suspended license.

Penalties for Driving With a Suspended License

Knowingly driving with a suspended driver’s license is a crime. If your license suspension is DUI-related, the prosecution and judge may think you deserve a stiffer penalty. The sentences include:

  • First Offense – Second-degree misdemeanor resulting in up to 60 days in jail; fines up to $500.
  • Second Offense – First-degree misdemeanor resulting in up to a year in prison; fines of $1,000.
  • Third or Subsequent Offense – Third-degree felony resulting in up to five years in prison; fines of up to $5,000.

If you have any combination of three convictions for driving within five years while your license is suspended or for DUI, the DHSMV will label you a habitual traffic offender. The department will revoke your driving privileges for five years.

Call Brett Metcalf for Help After a DUI Arrest

There are many moving pieces to a DUI case. You not only face the criminal charges but the administrative process that can lead to a license suspension. If you drive while it’s suspended, you face an additional criminal charge. This is not a situation you should handle alone.

Give our Tampa criminal attorneys a call at 813-258-4800 or use the online form if you need legal representation or to schedule a free consultation.