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Florida enforces strict DUI laws. The penalties can be severe and include suspension of the driver’s license. The process typically involves two key components: the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) administrative suspension and the potential for a criminal suspension if convicted. The administrative suspension is particularly critical to understand because it can occur immediately after arrest under certain circumstances, such as refusing a chemical test.

Recognizing what is at stake from the moment of your arrest is essential. Various strategies can be adopted to challenge adverse driver’s license actions, and each situation may require a different approach. Knowledgeable legal representation is crucial in these cases, as a defense lawyer can help you navigate the complexities of DUI law and work to protect your driving privileges.

If you or someone you know has been arrested for or charged with a DUI, contact Mazin Law by calling (407) 477-6744 or reaching out online. We provide representation in Orlando.

How a DUI Arrest Is Initiated

A DUI arrest typically occurs when a law enforcement officer has probable cause to believe that an individual is driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs. This probable cause is often established based on the officer’s observations during a traffic stop.

Factors that may contribute to establishing probable cause include erratic or unsafe driving behaviors observed by the officer, as well as physical signs of intoxication noted during interactions with the driver, such as slurred speech, the smell of alcohol, or visibly impaired coordination.

Additionally, a DUI arrest may be initiated if the officer administers a preliminary breath test and the results indicate that the driver had a breath/blood-alcohol level of 0.08 or more.

An Administrative Driver’s License Suspension

If you’re arrested for DUI, you may face an administrative driver’s license suspension, a critical and immediate consequence separate from any criminal proceedings. This administrative action is unrelated to your guilt or innocence regarding the DUI offense. It is specifically concerned with compliance with chemical testing laws.

The administrative suspension is triggered under two primary conditions: if you took a chemical test and your breath/blood alcohol level was 0.08% or higher or you refused to take the chemical test.

The legal basis for this suspension rests on the implied consent law. Under this law, by operating a motor vehicle in Florida, drivers implicitly consent to submit to chemical testing if lawfully arrested for suspicion of DUI.

The administrative suspension period varies based on whether you failed the test or refused it and includes:

  • 1 year: First-time refusal
  • 18 months: Second or subsequent refusal
  • 6 months: First-time BAL 0.08 or above
  • 18 months: Subsequent BAL 0.08 or above

The immediacy of the administrative suspension means it takes effect without delay. However, you can request a hearing to contest the suspension. This hearing is essential to potentially mitigate the immediate impact on your driving privileges.

Driver’s License Suspension After a Criminal Conviction

In Florida, individuals arrested for DUI face not only administrative actions but also criminal proceedings. The criminal process addresses the guilt or innocence of the person charged with DUI. This comprehensive process involves several stages, from arraignment to potential trial, where evidence is presented and a verdict is determined.

If you are convicted of a DUI, in addition to incarceration and/or fines, you could face driver’s license suspension/revocation for the following periods:

  • 6 months to 1 year: First conviction
  • At least 5 years: Second conviction within 5 years of the previous
  • At least 10 years: Third conviction within 10 years of the previous

Given these high stakes, understanding the potential outcomes of the criminal DUI process and seeking competent legal representation is crucial if you’re facing DUI charges.

The Importance of Legal Representation in DUI Cases

The implications of a DUI arrest in Florida are profound, particularly concerning your driving privileges. Losing your driver's license through administrative suspension or criminal conviction can significantly disrupt your daily life, creating substantial hardship. This outcome underscores the necessity of a strategic defense to safeguard your driving rights.

Facing a DUI charge can be daunting, and the complexities of administrative and criminal processes make navigating these waters particularly challenging. It is essential to have a knowledgeable advocate who can guide you through each step, protecting your rights and presenting a dynamic case. Legal representation is crucial, not just for managing the immediate implications of a DUI arrest but also for securing your long-term interests and maintaining your quality of life.

Contact Mazin Law in Orlando for a consultation to discuss your case. We can be reached at (407) 477-6744.

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