DUI – 10-Day Rule
If you have been arrested for DUI in Florida, your license was immediately suspended upon your arrest. You still, however, can drive for 10 days using your DUI-ticket/citation as a “business purposes only” driving permit, which is sometimes referred to as a “hardship license”.
A business purposes only permit “means a driving privilege that is limited to any driving necessary to maintain livelihood, including driving to and from work, necessary on-the-job driving, driving for educational purposes, and driving for church and medical purposes.” Fla. Stat. § 322.27. You can essentially drive to and from, work, school, a house of worship or for medical care, and, if applicable for work.
Fortunately, if you act within these 10 days, you may retain some, or perhaps all, of your driving privileges longer than this 10 day period. If you are a first-time offender you have two options. You can elect to have an administrative hearing – either formal or informal – where a hearing officer determines whether or not the arresting officer had probable cause to arrest you. Upon making this request in writing, you will receive a 42-day business purposes only permit so you can continue to drive until the hearing. If you win the hearing, your driving privileges will be fully restored. If you lose the hearing, you will need to wait either 30 or 90 days before you can get a business purposes only permit. The difference in the waiting times depends on the specifics of your case.
Your second option is to forfeit your right to the administrative hearing for an immediate business purposes only permit that will last throughout your suspension, upon enrollment in DUI School.
If you have a previous DUI conviction, you are ineligible for a “hardship license”, so your only option is the administrative hearing.
The difference between a formal and informal administrative hearing is on the type of evidence that is allowed. In a formal hearing, the parties can call witnesses and present evidence, which often presents an excellent opportunity to collect evidence for the eventual DUI trial. In the informal hearing, the hearing officer essentially examines the arrest paperwork.
An experienced trial attorney can help you navigate through this process, but you must act quickly. If you do not take any of the steps within 10 days, your license will be suspended.