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How tough are Florida’s DUI license suspension laws?

Florida drivers who are pulled over by a law enforcement officer on suspicion of driving under the influence face serious consequences. This is particularly true for drivers under 21 years of age. As explained by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, the first consequence is suspension  of your driver’s license.

Under Section 322.2616 of the Florida Statutes, if a law enforcement officer has probable cause to believe that you are driving under the influence, he or she can detain you and require that you submit to a test to determine your blood alcohol concentration. If your BAC is 0.02 percent or higher, the officer can immediately suspend your license and issue a 10-day temporary driving permit that becomes effective 12 hours after it is issued.

This license suspension is an administrative action, not a traffic violation or a criminal offense. In addition, the officer can suspend your license prior to arresting you for DUI. The reason for the 10-day temporary permit is that you have 10 days to request a hearing before the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. It is in your best interests to contact an attorney as soon as possible to prepare for this hearing because if you fail to request it, your license will be automatically suspended for six months if this is your first DUI offense.

Should your BAC be 0.05 percent or higher, you will be required to complete a substance abuse evaluation and course before your driver’s license can be reinstated. If you refuse to take the breath test, your license can be administratively suspended for one year for the refusal alone.

This is general information only and is not intended to provide legal advice.

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