DUI, driving under the influence, is a serious charge and one that comes with serious consequences if convicted. One of the first things that happens in a DUI case is that you’ll have to surrender your driver’s license. There are two parts to a DUI arrest. DUI charges will be handled in court while the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) takes care of driving privileges and your driver’s license. Within ten days of your initial DUI arrest you will typically have your license suspended until the DUI matter is settled in court. Many drivers don’t realize that they have ten days to request a hearing regarding their driver’s license. The hearing is with the FLHSMV and will determine what your driving privileges will be until the court date.

What Happens At a Hearing

The hearing is designed to determine whether or not you will retain any type of driving privileges while the DUI matter is being resolved in court. If you fail to request a hearing within ten days of your DUI arrest you waive your right to this hearing and your license will be suspended until the court date. If you need to drive, for instance to get to and from work, it is essential that you request a hearing. An experienced attorney will certainly be able to assist in this process. Your lawyer will present your case by demonstrating your need to retain your license. Your attorney will also provide details as to your lack of previous DUI convictions, good standing in the community, and work record as ways to indicate responsibility. In some cases, a driver may be allowed to keep his or her license.

What is a Hardship License?

A hardship driver’s license is a restricted license – one that allows you to drive for limited provisions. In many cases a hardship license will allow you to drive to and from work only. This allows you to retain your job yet restricts you from driving in any other situations. If you have a job and your license has been suspended it will be difficult to get to and from work. Your attorney can request a hearing for a hardship license. This requires a separate hearing where you lawyer will present information detailing why you should be allowed to have a restricted license. If successful, you will be allowed to drive only under specific circumstances. For example, sometimes a restricted license allows you to drive only during specific hours.

Working Through a DUI

Getting a restricted or hardship driver’s license is only a temporary fix to your problem. The final determination of your driving privileges will be done at your court case. If you are found guilty of DUI in court, the judge will impose a sentence that will often include penalties such as jail time, fines, and suspension of your driver’s license. There are mandatory sentencing requirements in some circumstances that will require an automatic suspension of your license for a period of time. An experienced attorney will work to resolve your situation in the best possible way.