If you are charged with a DUI and your driver's license is suspended (one year for a refusal, six months for a breath reading over .08), you may be eligible for a hardship license.
A hardship license will permit you to drive to and from work, school, and religious functions. A hardship on a DUI suspension is not guaranteed. You must fulfill certain conditions.
1) You must have enrolled in DUI school. The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) has a list of licensed DUI programs. DUI school is typically 12 hours and may require an evaluation and treatment if necessary. You cannot attend DUI school online, you must go in person. However, to apply for a hardship on a DUI suspension, you need only show proof of enrollment in DUI school. It is not necessary to have completed DUI school before applying.
2) You must wait a short period of time. For a first DUI, you must wait 30 days from the date of suspension to apply if you are accused of driving with a blood-alcohol level in excess of .08. For a refusal (first DUI), you must wait 90 days.
3) You must pay $12 and have a hearing. Hearings are held at the DHSMV's Bureau of Administrative Reviews.
At the hearing, the hearing officer will inquire about your driving needs. You will tell the hearing officer why you need to drive, despite having a DUI suspension. Most of the time, if the requirements that I have mentioned have been fulfilled, you will be given a hardship license.
Eric Matheny is a DUI attorney serving Miami-Dade and Broward.