Summer fun is plentiful in the Tampa Bay area cities of Tampa, St. Petersburg, and Clearwater. The weather is warmer, the days are longer and residents and visitors alike are enjoying the beaches and outdoor activities. But summer celebrations may come to a quick end for anyone caught drinking and driving this summer. Drunk driving is a serious crime in Florida, and one that should not be taken lightly by anyone accused of it.
If you have been arrested for a drunk driving offense in the Greater Tampa Bay area, it is imperative that you take action immediately. Your best response is to hire an experienced DUI attorney to handle your case. Laws concerning DUI offenses are complicated and will require significant time and effort for a layperson to decipher and formulate an appropriate response.
At the time of your arrest your license was suspended. This suspension may last anywhere from 6 months to 1 year depending on whether this is your first offense or a subsequent offense. You should also have received a temporary permit at the time of your arrest. This permit will be in effect for 10 days following your arrest. During this time, you have the opportunity to file a challenge to the suspension of your license.
Your arrest and the suspension of your license was most likely based on your results on a chemical test, that is a breath or blood sample taken at the time of your arrest indicated that you had a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or greater. If you refused to submit to a chemical test, you license will automatically be suspended for 1 year if this is your first offense and 18 months if this is a consecutive offense.
You do have an opportunity to apply for a hardship license if you are able to prove that it is necessary for you to drive for business or employment purposes. If you failed a chemical test, you must complete 30 days of your license suspension before becoming eligible for a hardship license. If you refused to submit to a chemical test, however, you will have to serve 90 days of the license suspension before being eligible for a hardship license.
You will also be required to demonstrate your enrollment in an approved DUI course before your hardship license can be granted. There will also be fees associated with both the hardship license and the reinstatement of your license after the suspension is complete.
If you have been convicted of DUI two or more times in Florida, you will not be eligible for a hardship license at all. Additionally, if you have refused to submit to a chemical test 2 or more times, you will not be eligible for a hardship license. Obviously, the laws related to DUI in Florida are complex and making sure you formulate an appropriate and timely response can be time-consuming. To ensure that your driving privileges are preserved, you should seek the advice of a qualified DUI lawyer as soon as possible.