Driver's License Suspension

Tampa License Suspension Lawyers

Our Tampa Attorneys Fight for Your Right to Drive in Florida

One of the most inconvenient DUI penalties is that of license suspension. Several scenarios can lead to the loss of driving privileges. The first is a breath test refusal. Florida has an implied consent law that requires all license holders to submit to blood alcohol content testing when arrested. 

  • The first time a driver refuses a physical or chemical test, they will lose their license for a year. 
  • A second refusal will cause an 18-month driver's license suspension.

When you are arrested for drunk driving, your license will automatically be suspended, but you’ll have 10 days to request a DMV hearing to challenge the suspension. If you win this hearing, your license will not be suspended. However, if you are convicted later, your license will be suspended regardless of the results of the DMV hearing.

Multiple Offenses & License Suspension

First-time offenders may qualify for Hillsborough’s Reducing Impaired Driving Recidivism (RIDR) program. If a driver completes it, they will not have their license suspended because they will never be convicted of a DUI. If a first-time offender qualifies and finishes the RIDR program, their charge is reduced to reckless driving, and they will not be required to inform employers of their previous DUI arrest.

For a second DUI conviction, license suspension may change depending on how recent the defendant’s first offense was. If the first DUI occurred within five years or less, the defendant would face a minimum five-year suspension. After a third conviction, the defendant will face a minimum suspension of 10 years if within a decade of the previous DUI. After a fourth conviction, their license will be permanently revoked.

In serious instances, such as DUI manslaughter, a person’s prior offenses are not considered. If convicted of DUI manslaughter, whether it is a person’s first or fourth offense, the defendant will face a permanent loss of driving privileges. In cases where a person was driving under the influence and caused serious injury or death, their license suspension will last for at least three years.

Fighting for Your Right to Drive in Florida

If you have been arrested for DUI, you are also at risk of losing your license in the DMV hearing. For this reason, it is crucial that you get a Tampa DUI lawyer who can look after you in both the criminal and civil proceedings. At Thomas & Paulk, P.A., we know what is at stake and will do everything possible to protect your freedom. 

Call (813) 321-7323 today to take advantage of our free consultation.

Protecting Your License

If you are facing driver's license suspension in conjunction with a DUI arrest in Tampa, make sure you work with a firm that can protect your interests at your DMV hearing and in criminal court. At Thomas & Paulk, we've been fighting for drivers in Florida since 2001.

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Driver's License Suspension in Tampa, FL

Commercial Driver's License Suspension & DUI

Those with commercial driver’s licenses (CDL) who get a DUI face a higher set of standards. A commercial driver cannot have a blood alcohol level of 0.04 percent or greater. After a first conviction, drivers will lose their CDL license for up to a year. If charged with a second DUI, commercial drivers will permanently lose their license and, as a result, their livelihood.

FMCSA Regulations: Alcohol & Drug Testing

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is strict on commercial drivers who operate their vehicles while impaired by drugs or alcohol. CDL holders are subjected to regular testing, including urine or breath tests. Commercial drivers are prohibited from driving while drinking, while having a BAC over 0.04 percent, or within 4 hours of drinking.

Tests are required of all commercial drivers at the following times:

  • Following an accident where the driver’s behavior was a contributing factor
  • When there is reasonable suspicion by supervisors/company officials of impairment
  • At unannounced times or random intervals
  • After returning to duty from an alcohol-related conviction

Alcohol testing is common for truck drivers. These tests are broken up into two stages. The first is used to identify drivers who are driving while over the legal limit. If the BAC is over 0.02 percent, the driver moves on to the second stage. Results must be printed and properly recorded to ensure accuracy. If it's determined that a driver was under the influence with a BAC over 0.02 percent, they will be removed from any safety-sensitive functions.

Drivers will also be subject to tests that analyze urine for traces of marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines, opiates, and PCP.  Should the test come back positive, the driver will be interviewed to determine whether it stemmed from using a controlled substance without proper authorization (e.g., medical marijuana). If so, they will be removed from duty until they go through rehabilitation and a follow-up test comes back negative.

License Suspension vs. Revocation

There is a difference between having a license suspended and having a license revoked. Here is a brief overview:

  • License suspension is the temporary loss of a license, for a set period.
  • License revocation is permanent. It often occurs after more serious convictions.

Hardship Licenses in Florida

Some drivers may be able to apply for a hardship license. A hardship license, or restricted license, is a provisional driver’s license that will allow an individual to drive for specific reasons. A driver does not automatically have the right to a hardship license after an arrest or conviction. Instead, a driver must meet certain requirements to qualify for a restricted license. These requirements vary based on the circumstances of the driver’s conviction. 

Uses for a hardship license include the following:

  • Driving to work
  • Driving to school
  • Going to the doctor
  • Running important errands

Reclaim Your Driving Privileges

Losing your license can have a dramatic impact on various areas of your life. A suspension risks your employment, your ability to get to school, and puts a strain on personal relationships. You may have to rely on friends and family or public transportation to get around. Though your freedom will be limited, a hardship license will help you overcome some transportation issues, making life a little easier.

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