Although it is never good to be charged with DUI in Florida, there is a mechanism that can help a person charged with drunk driving regain his or her driving privileges while the case makes its way through Florida courts.
In Florida, a DUI arrest typically leads to a license suspension immediately after. Registering a blood alcohol content of 0.08 leads to a license suspension for a maximum of six months, while declining to submit to a test for blood alcohol content leads to a license suspension of up to 12 months. Typically, the defendant’s physical driver’s license card is seized by the arresting officer.
For the following ten days the DUI citation functions as a driver’s license. After that, the licensee may not drive or apply for a business purposes license for at least 30 days. If he or she chose not to submit to a blood alcohol test, at least 90 days must pass before he or she applies for a business purposes only (BPO) license.
However, within ten days from arrest, a defendant may apply for a Florida DMV Eligibility Review hearing. This hearing is essentially an appeal of the driver’s license suspension. The option is only available to those who have never had a prior DUI arrest. Upon filling out and returning the proper form, a copy of the DUI citation, and proof of enrollment in DUI school. A hearing over the phone costs $25. After the hearing, DMV officials will decide whether to lift the suspension or leave it in place.
If the DUI in question is not the defendant’s first, he or she must apply for a formal review hearing. The defendant must request it from the DMV within ten days of the date on the DUI citation. The date on the citation is important, because it determines when the ten-day period begins and ends. In some cases when the arrest is late in the evening, the law enforcement officer may not write out the ticket until early the next morning of the next day, which then starts the ten-day period. In any event, the application must be completed in its entirety and postmarked on or before ten days after the date on the citation for the DMV to begin the appeals process.
Upon receipt of the application, the Florida DMV is required to schedule the appeal hearing within 30 days from the arrest date. The applicant will receive notice of the hearing in the mail, and hearings in some counties are held over the phone or virtually. Telephone hearings are held during business hours Monday through Friday.
In 2022 the Florida DMV began Expedited Review Hearings to cut down the wait time between receiving a DUI citation and obtaining a business purposes only license. While the telephone hearing is still an option, petitioners may seek an expedited review by waiving the telephone hearing option. Rather than waiting for the telephone hearing to be scheduled and held before a decision is rendered, choosing an expedited hearing allows the DMV to make a decision based solely on the application.