Let’s say you were recently arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) in Miami. The officer believed he smelled the odor of alcohol on your breath, or he noted indications of drug use, so he asked you to submit to a chemical test (breath or urine), but you said, “No thank you.”
This is called a chemical test refusal, which results in an automatic one year driver’s license suspension, even if you weren’t driving under the influence. This is an administrative suspension imposed by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV). As you learned, people can still be arrested and charged with DUI, even if law enforcement does not have the results of a chemical test in the form of a blood breath, or urine test as rock-solid evidence.
Before you even get to court, DHSMV suspends your privilege to drive for one year for a first refusal, or 18 months if you have a prior refusal suspension. You can get a hardship license after a first refusal by enrolling is DUI school, but not for a second refusal. However, if you are convicted of DUI, that hardship license is taken away by the Judge at sentencing.
What if I am convicted of DUI?
So, is there any way to reinstate your driver’s license after the Judge suspends your license AGAIN for the DUI conviction? If you have a prior DUI conviction, no. But, for most first offenders there is light at the end of the tunnel.
To obtain a hardship license, you must meet the following criteria:
- Show proof that you completed DUI School.
- If you are referred for treatment, you are required to complete it.
- If you do not complete your treatment, your license will be cancelled.
- When your license is reinstated (for hardship), you must take a mandatory examination.
- You must pay an administrative fee, a suspension reinstatement fee, and you may have to pay a license fee.
- You must show proof that you have bodily injury liability insurance if you’re found guilty of DUI.