Driving Under the Influence (DUI) - FAQs

In an effort to help you obtain as much information needed as possible, our attorneys have compiled the list of questions that are most commonly asked about DUI charges in Florida. Feel free to browse through them and navigate to other pages of our site where more information is available:


When can I get charged with Driving Under the Influence (DUI)?

A person can be charged with Driving Under the Influence, or DUI, when she/he is driving or is in actual physical control of a vehicle within the state of Florida and is under the influence of alcoholic beverages or any chemical substance, to the extent that the person's normal faculties are impaired; has a blood or breath-alcohol level of 0.08 or more. Back to DUI FAQs

What is the "Ten Day Rule"?

The Ten Day Rule states that you have 10 days from the DUI arrest date to request a formal review hearing and challenge the Administrative Suspension of your driver license. If this hearing is requested within this 10 day period, a temporary license will be issued to you. This license is usually good for up to seven days after the hearing. If the formal review hearing is not requested within this ten day period, your license will be suspended. The suspension will apply for 6 to 18 months, depending on your specific case. You are allowed to drive using your citation as a driving permit during the first 10 days after your DUI arrest. Back to DUI FAQs

How serious is a DUI/DWI in Florida?

Driving a motor vehicle Under the Influence of alcoholic beverages or a controlled substance (DUI) is a misdemeanor that is taken very seriously by prosecutors in the State of Florida. A first DUI conviction requires by Florida Statutes that a person be placed on probation, complete 50 hours of community service, complete DUI school, complete a substance abuse course, attend the VIP (victim impact panel), and pay several hundred dollars in fines and court costs (the fine itself is between $250.00 and $500.00). A six month license suspension and temporary vehicle immobilization are also required by statute. Jail is not mandatory on a first DUI; however, a person can be sentenced up to six months in jail on a first time DUI.

Second and subsequent DUI convictions require a more lengthy and costly advanced DUI School, higher fines, longer license suspensions and the possibility of longer jail sentences. Depending on the date of a person's prior conviction, a jail sentence may be mandatory for a subsequent DUI. A person convicted of several DUI’s may likely be charged as a felon. Felony DUI may result in up to five years in state prison. Also, a person with multiple DUI convictions can lose there privilege to drive—FOREVER. Back to DUI FAQs

What is an Ignition Interlock Device?

The Ignition Interlock Device is an in-car alcohol breath screening device sometimes placed inside a vehicle of a person under DUI probation and connected to the ignition system. Once installed the person must blow into it and pass a breath test in order to be able to start the vehicle. The Ignition Interlock Device also requires randomly breath samples to keep the engine working. Back to DUI FAQs

What is a blood alcohol content and how much is considered illegal?

Breath alcohol content measures the amount of alcohol in a person's breath. A .08 breath alcohol level means that there are .08 grams of alcohol per 210 liters of breath. Blood alcohol content measures the amount of alcohol in a person's blood. A .08 blood alcohol level means that there are .08 grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood.

If a person is driving a motor vehicle in Florida and has a breath or blood alcohol level of .08 or greater, he or she is presumed guilty of DUI. Other evidence may be introduced to challenge that presumption. Back to DUI FAQs

What happens if I refuse to take a breath analyzer test?

If a person refuses to submit to a lawful test of his or her breath, urine, or blood, their driving privileges may be suspended for one year for a first refusal and eighteen months in the case of a second or subsequent refusal. This suspension may be contested at an administrative hearing; this hearing must be requested within ten days from the day of the arrest. Additionally, a person whose license was previously suspended for refusing to submit to a lawful test of his or her breath, urine, or blood and is arrested again for DUI and refuses to submit to a breath, urine or blood alcohol test, commits a first degree misdemeanor. Back to DUI FAQs

I got my license suspended. What can I do to get it back?

It all depends on the reason for suspension. Sometimes all that is required is that a person pay some outstanding tickets. DUI suspensions will require the completion of DUI school and a reinstatement fee. A more serious suspension involves a situation where a person has multiple DUI convictions. In those cases, there may be a lengthy waiting period without any driving and then a person can petition for limited driving privileges, or a hardship license, which allows driving for limited purposes such as work, medically necessary appointments and the like. Enough DUI convictions may suspend driving privileges permanently without the possibility of a hardship license.

Another serious suspension is a Habitual Traffic Offender Suspension, or HTO suspension. Three “serious traffic offenses”, as defined by statute, within a five year period will result in an HTO suspension. Also, fifteen moving violations within five years can result in HTO status and the accompanying five year suspension. A person may be eligible for a hardship license after one year of HTO status; they may petition the DHSMV for a hardship license after the first year of the HTO status runs, but only if they have not driven during that period. In some instances, the validity of HTO status itself can be challenged. Back to DUI FAQs