The simple and fast answer is yes, but really that answer requires some explanation. When you’re arrested for DUI in Florida your license is suspended at the time of your arrest by the arresting officer. However, you will be issued a citation for DUI and during the first ten days after your arrest that ticket is your driver’s license and using it you can drive for any reason at all or no reason; you can just go out for a drive.
During that ten-day period you’ve got to request a formal review hearing at the Department of Motor Vehicles Bureau of Administrative Reviews.
When you request your formal review hearing they will give you what’s called a temporary driving permit. That permit will allow you to drive for another 42 days but it is a restricted driving privilege. You can drive using that permit for four things and only four things. You can use it for any work-related driving, for your own work; you can’t drive friends to work.
You can use it for your own educational purposes. You can drive a friend with you to school but you have to be going there for your own educational purposes. It’s also valid to attend religious services and for necessary medical appointments.
And the problem is that there are a lot of attorneys who will tell people that they can use this permit for necessities, and people do get arrested for going to the grocery store because an attorney has told them you can use it to buy necessities.
The law only says four things and four things only. And if you’re driving outside of those four things you are subject to arrest.
Now during the time you have that temporary permit a formal review hearing will be held. If you win that hearing you get your regular driver’s license back and again can drive with no restrictions. However, if you lose that hearing – depending on whether or not you too the breath test – your license will be suspended for what we call a hard period of time, followed by limited driving on a hardship license.
If you take the breath test that hard period of time is 30 days of no driving. And they mean not driving. It doesn’t matter your own personal particular situation; there are no exceptions.
After 30 days, if you’ve taken the breath test, you can get a hardship license that allows you to continue to drive for those same four purposes that we discussed earlier, but this hardship license differs from the temporary driving permit in one way; the temporary driving permit is just a white sheet of paper with a seal on it. A hardship license is an actual photo ID and looks like a driver’s license; it just has restriction codes on it.
If you didn’t take the breath test that period of no driving is 90 days, not 30. And if you take the breath test your license is suspended for 6 months, if you don’t it’s a one-year suspension. So if you didn’t take the test you’ll have 90 days of no driving followed by the balance of time on a hardship license.
Now the last point that’s important; in order to get that hardship license – whether you took the breath test or not – you have to attend and complete a DUI education class. In some areas of the State they call it ‘Counter Attack School,’in others they call it ‘DUI Education.’
What that class is is a course that teaches about the risks of drinking and driving and substance abuse. Part of that class is an alcohol evaluation of the person who was arrested for DUI. After that evaluation the evaluator will determine whether or not the driver needs counseling.
If counseling is recommended you must do it. If you don’t, the State of Florida will suspend your driving privilege forever until you do.