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Restoring Your Driver’s License Following A DUI


One of the most painful penalties that can be issued from a DUI conviction is the loss of driving privileges. The ability to drive may be crucial in a person’s ability to travel to work, school, medical appointments, errands, and more. Someone convicted of DUI could have their driver’s license suspended or even revoked. The driver may be eligible to apply for a restricted license or one that can only be used during certain times or for certain locations during their penalty period. Getting a driver’s license back after a DUI, much less getting a restricted license during the penalty period, can be highly difficult.

Florida DUI Defendants Have A Tight Deadline To Save Their Driver’s Licenses If They Refused A Breathalyzer

Florida, like many states, has an implied consent law for DUIs. This means that anyone driving a motor vehicle has implicitly given their consent to prove their sobriety when pulled over for suspicion of DUI while driving. There are serious consequences to saying no to a police officer who requests that you submit to breath or chemical testing while operating a motor vehicle in Florida. Anyone who refuses a breathalyzer or chemical test will automatically lose their driver’s license for one year in Florida. However, the driver will have 10 days from the refusal to fight the suspension through an administrative hearing with the DMV. This must be proactively requested by the defendant. Public defenders won’t attend the administrative hearing with their clients.

How A Driver’s License Suspension Works In Florida

If a defendant convicted of DUI has their driver’s license suspended, they will need to surrender their license to a Florida DMV. The driver’s license suspension can’t begin until the license has been given to the DMV.

DUI license suspensions can vary based on numerous factors, but a defendant’s driver’s license suspension can be affected if they have accompanying traffic violations with their DUI. The Florida DMV will suspend a driver’s license once they accumulate a certain number of points, and this doesn’t need to be done through a criminal offense like DUI. Speeding, failing to signal, rolling a stop, etc., can all add points to someone’s DMV record when caught by a Florida police officer. Here is an overview of the point system:

  • 12 DMV points in 12 months is a 30-day suspension.
  • 18 DMV points in 18 months is a 3-month suspension.
  • 24 points in 36 months is a 1-year suspension.

Restricted Driver’s License

When someone is first convicted of a DUI, their driver’s license suspension will typically be a hard suspension. This means that the driver can’t apply for a hardship license or a license with special exemptions for specific activities like work and school. Once the hard suspension period has passed, the driver can apply for a hardship license for the rest of their suspension period. If granted, the driver will have permission to drive for those specific activities only.

Driver’s License Reinstatement

Someone whose driver’s license is suspended due to a DUI conviction won’t just automatically get it handed back to them when the suspension period is over. There is a fee associated with reinstating a suspended driver’s license. A DUI defendant will also need documents, like proof of completion of the DUI course, to reinstate their license. They will also need to provide proof of high-risk auto insurance coverage before the driver’s license can be reissued.

Ignition Interlock Device

A driver convicted of DUI in Florida may also be ordered to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicle before regaining their driving privileges. The court may order the defendant to keep the device installed for months or even years. Ignition interlock devices can be embarrassing, and they are also expensive and inconvenient. They must be professionally installed, which may come with a fee. They will also come with a monthly fee, which can add up to a significant sum if the defendant has a lengthy IID order. The IID orders for Florida DUI convictions are as follows:

  • No prior convictions: At the court’s discretion
  • No prior convictions, BAL 0.15+ or minor in a vehicle: 6 months minimum
  • Second DUI: 1-year minimum
  • Second DUI, BAL 0.15+ or minor in a vehicle: 2 years minimum
  • Third DUI: 2 years minimum
  • Fourth DUI and onwards: 5 years minimum

DUI School

Part of getting a driver’s license back after a DUI suspension in Florida is completing DUI school. First-time DUI offenders will be ordered to complete Level I DUI school, which is a minimum of 12 hours. Drivers with multiple DUI convictions will need to complete Level II DUI school, which is a minimum of 21 hours. This course is specially geared towards repeat offenders, taking substance abuse treatment into account. This course may also involve DCF (Department of Children and Families) treatment. These courses must be taken with providers approved by the Florida DMV. There are also fees associated with completing these courses, which increase with the level of the course.

Driver’s License Restoration Sounds Like A Lot Of Work Because It Is

Getting a driver’s license back after being convicted of DUI may be no simple feat. There are several requirements imposed by the court for those who lose their driver’s licenses due to DUI. Mistakes in the process can cause unnecessary delays and be costly as well. Even after a conviction is all said and done, driver’s license restoration on its own may require legal assistance. When you want it done right, you want it done by experienced professionals. At The Watson Firm, PLLC, our lawyers offer collective years of experience that help our clients achieve the best possible results for their situations. We pride ourselves on making hiring an attorney worth every penny and more. It all begins with your no-risk, no-cost consultation. Click here or call 850-607-2929 to let us know when you would like to schedule your free consultation.