In Florida, when a driver is being investigated for drunk driving charges, there are many penalties that can be assessed. Most will be after the person has been convicted. That includes jail time, fines and a driver’s license suspension. However, there is an administrative driver’s license suspension that the law enforcement officer can issue immediately. Understanding when this can occur and what can be done about it is an important part of defending against a DUI charge.
There will be a first administrative suspension for drivers who are 21 and older and are shown to have a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or higher, and if the person is under 21 and has a BAC of 0.02 or higher. The suspension is for six months. With a second suspension or subsequent suspension, it will be one year for those 21 and older with a BAC of at least 0.08 and for those under 21 who have a 0.02 BAC.
There can also be an administrative suspension if the driver refuses to submit to a breath test, a blood test or a urine test. This will last for one year. For second and subsequent incidents in which the driver refused, it will be for 18 months. Those under 21 with a 0.05 BAC or higher will have an administrative driver’s license suspension until there has been an evaluation and course related to substance abuse and it has been completed.
At the time of the incident, the driver’s license will be suspended. Drivers who are eligible can receive a temporary permit that will be valid for 10 days after the arrest. Those under 21 will not have a valid license until 12 hours after the arrest took place. The temporary license is then valid for 10 days, depending on eligibility. According to state law, law enforcement has a wide range of rights to detain drivers and request that they take part in a test to determine BAC, if they are under 21 or there is probable cause to believe they were committing DUI.
People will undoubtedly be aware that they can face a driver’s license suspension for DUI, but they might not know that it can happen immediately during the investigation, and it is generally at the discretion of the investigating officer. There are various defenses that can be effective, including calling into question whether the stop was warranted or if the officer had probable cause to issue the immediate suspension.