You can lose your license as part of an administrative suspension even before a DUI conviction. Fortunately, you can file an appeal, but you’ll need the help of an experienced St. Petersburg criminal defense attorney to guide you through the process. Bringing an appeal requires organization and familiarity with the law, which many people find difficult.

The Law

After a DUI arrest, you can lose your license if you register at least a 0.08 percent blood alcohol content on a breath or blood test or if you refuse to take a test altogether. You will lose your license for at least six months, probably longer if you refused a test.

Fortunately, the traffic ticket you received for a DUI serves as a driving permit which is good for 10 days from the date of your arrest. You can use it to get to and from work and to get essentials, such as groceries. However, you will eventually lose your license unless you successfully appeal.

Requesting a Formal Review Hearing

You request a Formal Review Hearing with the state’s Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV). Move quickly before the 10-day period on your temporary license expires—otherwise, you’ll lose your driving privileges. Once you file an appeal, you receive another 42 days of driving privileges, which means another six weeks before you lose the right to drive.

The DHSMV offers two types of hearings: informal and formal. With an informal hearing, the officer simply reviews all of the evidence and decides whether to uphold the suspension. But with a formal hearing, you’re allowed to introduce witness testimony and make legal arguments. With a skilled DUI attorney at your side, you have a better chance of retaining your license in a formal hearing.

Building Your Case

A lawyer who files for a formal hearing can get a copy of all documents the DHSMV has in its possession related to your case. After reviewing these documents, you and your lawyer can subpoena officers and other witnesses, which is a legal request to offer testimony.

At the formal hearing, your lawyer may cross-examine witnesses, so early preparation is critical. A skilled DUI attorney can pinpoint weaknesses in the state’s case and explain why you should retain your license. After the hearing, the DHSMV will issue a decision, and you can obtain a new license for free if you prevail.

Requesting a Hardship Driver’s License

If you lose your appeal, you will lose your driver’s license for six months or more. However, you might qualify for a hardship driver’s license if you satisfy the following three requirements:

  • Your record doesn’t contain three or more DUI convictions
  • You completed or are enrolled in a DUI Counter Attack School
  • You have served a certain amount of the suspension. This depends on whether you took a blood or breath alcohol content test (30 days) or whether you refused (90 days).

If you meet all three of these requirements, then you must request a Hardship Review Hearing where you will seek approval for your hardship license.

Contact a St. Petersburg Criminal Defense Attorney

You’ll need experienced legal counsel to navigate the complicated administrative appeals process. At Khonsari Law Group, we’ve handled all kinds of DUI cases and are prepared to help you fight to keep your license. Call us today at (727) 269-5300 or fill out our online contact form.