DUI: Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Will I be able to get my case dismissed because I was not read my rights?
A. Not likely. The failure to advise of Miranda rights does raise legal issues, but it is not likely to get your case completely dismissed.
Q. Will I go to jail?
A. On a first offense, probably not. On second or later offenses, it becomes more probable. There are mandatory minimum jail sentences for repeat offenders.
Q. If convicted, how long will the DUI remain on my driving record? How about the criminal record?
A. It will remain on both records forever!
Q. How many hours of alcohol classes will I have to attend if I am convicted of DUI?
A. If you are convicted, plan on at least 24 to 48 hours, one-two hour sessions per week. The higher your blood alcohol content, the more hours you will have to attend.
Q. What will happen if I do not complete the classes or community service ordered by the court?
A. You can be found in violation of probation and may go to jail.
Q. I lost my Florida license. May I obtain a license in another state?
A. In most cases, no.
Q. If I obtain an international driver’s license, may I drive in Florida, even though my Florida license is revoked?
Q. Why is your license taken after your arrest, and when do you get it back?
A. Under Florida law, your license can be immediately administratively suspended for either a refusal to take a breath, blood or urine test, or if you have a breath test result of .08 or greater. The length of this suspension can be from six (6) months to eighteen (18) months. If you are successful and win your DMV administrative hearing, you will be able to continue your normal driving.
Q. Does the DMV administrative hearing have any bearing on the criminal hearing?
A. No. They are two independent proceedings. This administrative or motor vehicle hearing is separate and apart from applying for a business permit. The only way to eliminate this driver’s license suspension from your record is through an administrative hearing. If you are successful and win your administrative hearing, not only will you be able to continue normal driving, but your suspension will be removed from your driving history.
Q. What if I plead guilty or no contest at my bond hearing?
A. We never recommend that you plead guilty or no contest at a bond hearing. Either a plea of guilty or no contest will result in you being convicted of the charge that you pled to. However, if you do end up entering a plea, there are certain legal remedies where you can ask the court to allow you to withdraw your plea and get your sentence and conviction set aside. This is a very time-sensitive issue and you should consult an attorney immediately if you find yourself in this position.
Q. What is the difference between a plea of guilty or a plea of no contest?
A. None. In a DUI case, there is no difference in terms of your criminal record, your driving record, or the penalties imposed. Either a plea of guilty or no contest will both result in a criminal history.
Administrative Formal Hearings Florida Motor Vehicle Hearings
Save Your License
After being arrested for DUI, the Department of Motor Vehicles will automatically suspend your driver’s license—– even before you appear in court. To preserve your right to drive in Florida, you must request a hearing within ten (10) days of your arrest for DUI. An administrative review hearing before the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles will then be scheduled within thirty days.
If you took a breath test and blew above .08, your driver’s license will automatically be suspended for six months if you do not request a formal review hearing. If you refused to take a breath, blood, or urine test, your driver’s license will be automatically suspended for at least one year if you don’t request a formal review hearing.
An Administrative Formal Review Hearing
The administrative formal review hearing before the Department of Motor Vehicles is an administrative formal review hearing, not a criminal proceeding. That will come later.
The purpose of the administrative formal review hearing is to decide if the suspension will remain in effect. A Department of Motor Vehicles administrative review hearing is especially important for your later criminal DUI defense because it gives your lawyer a chance to hear the evidence the police have against you and to challenge it. Sometimes, the criminal charges will be dropped based on what happens at the administrative review hearing.
Don’t let this opportunity pass you by. Always request an administrative review hearing and always bring a lawyer with you to that hearing.