Impaired driving charges often result in a variety of consequences for those accused. Because driving is a privilege and not a right, those convicted of impaired driving or who plead guilty to driving while intoxicated can face license suspension as well as the standard criminal penalties associated with most crimes, like fines and jail time.
Losing your license is more than an inconvenience. Public transportation simply isn’t reliable enough to get you to and from work, to say nothing of taking children to school or making it to important appointments on time. Taking taxis or using a rideshare service is likely going to become prohibitively expensive quickly. Even if you have a great support network, people will inevitably begin to resent giving you rides all the time.
Knowing how long you could potentially lose your license for can help you make more informed decisions about a criminal defense strategy if you find yourself facing driving under the influence (DUI) charges in Florida.
The length of the suspension depends on your criminal record
Someone who refuses to take a chemical breath test during a roadside traffic stop or who has a blood alcohol content (BAC) test result of 0.0 8% or higher will face immediate administrative revocation of their license. Upon their arrest, there will be a suspension issue that will last at least six months. However, it could be as long as a year or even 18 months from the date of your arrest.
Some individuals can and do successfully defend against the administrative suspension of their license until the completion of their criminal trial. However, with a guilty plea or a conviction comes a mandatory suspension of your license. This kind of suspension is known as a criminal suspension. It begins when the courts convict you or accept your guilty plea.
First-time offenders can lose their license for anywhere from 180 days to a year. Those with a second impaired driving conviction in five years will face a year of suspension, while those with three convictions within 10 years could have a 10-year revocation period. Finally, anyone who gets convicted a fourth time for impaired driving will face a mandatory permanent revocation of their license.
Hardship licenses in criminal defense can help you keep driving
Those dealing with an administrative or criminal license suspension can secure a hardship license that allows them to drive to work and for other critical functions. However, avoiding that suspension by successfully defending against a criminal charge is usually the better option.
Even if you failed a breath test, it may still be possible to defend against a pending DUI charge. Talking with a Sarasota attorney about your options can help you make an informed decision.