Every DUI case is comprised of two components - the criminal component and the administrative component.
The criminal component is the one you’re probably the most familiar with. This is what happens after your arrest. Your DUI case will likely end in a plea, trial, or dismissal.
The administrative component is what many unfortunate people accused of DUI fail to realize. In the State of Florida, driving is considered to be a privilege. That means that if you are arrested for DUI, your driver’s license will be suspended by the DHSMV (Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles) 10 days after your arrest. This is known as an administrative suspension and it has nothing to do with what happens in court.
In order to preserve your driving privilege, it is imperative that your DUI attorney schedule an administrative hearing within that 10-day window. For Miami-Dade DUI cases, the hearings are held at the Bureau of Administrative Reviews office located inside of the Mall Of The Americas, located at 7795 West Flagler Street. For Broward DUI cases, the hearings are held at 3708 West Oakland Park Boulevard in Lauderdale Lakes.
However, be advised that if you are convicted of a DUI by way of being found guilty at trial or by pleading guilty or no contest, the court is mandated by law to suspend your driver’s license as well. This suspension is separate from an administrative suspension.
The length of the driver’s license suspension implemented by the court will be based on whether this is your first DUI, second DUI, or third DUI.
For felony DUIs, court suspensions are required by as well.
The length of the suspension can be as little as 6 months, and as much as a lifetime suspension in serious cases, such as third DUIs, DUIs with serious bodily injury, and DUI manslaughter.
The court is only required to follow the statutory mandatory minimum suspensions. The court can suspend your driver's license for any amount of time so long as it's not below the minimum.
As far as administrative suspensions go, those can range from 6 months to several years.
You may be eligible to obtain a hardship license on a DUI suspension for both administrative suspensions and court suspensions.
Eric Matheny is a DUI attorney serving Miami-Dade and Broward.