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Driving Restrictions & The Refusal to Blow

In Florida, it used to be that the law was much stricter on DUI arrests. If you refused to blow or blew a BAC in excess of .08, your license would be automatically suspended. Because this was considered a separate component from your criminal proceedings, the suspension did not require any proof of guilt. Even if you were found not guilty, the suspension was eligible to stand for up to a year.

To prevent losing licenses, defense attorneys will usually act quickly to ensure your driving privileges are reinstated while you’re waiting for a trial date. This is done through a separate hearing to petition for your license with the DMV. If you’ve been arrested for DUI, contact a lawyer quickly—the window to schedule this hearing is only 10 days.

However, even if the reinstatement was successful, drivers would still face a hard suspension period—one month for excessive blood alcohol content, three months for refusing to blow. In 2013, Florida law was changed. Drivers are now able to receive a hardship driving permit immediately, allowing them to drive for work or business.

The Trade-Off

To be eligible for the hardship permit, you must meet two criteria: this must be your first offense, and you must be willing to waive your right to challenge the suspension. In return for accepting the suspension of your license (which is not an admittance of guilt, by the way), you’ll be able to drive for the sake of survival—appointments, job, school, etc.

As criminal defense attorneys, we see that this provides a distinct advantage to drivers, despite requiring a waiver of your right to challenge your suspension. Hardship permits are meant to be a fast solution. It gives you immediate driving privileges, which many drivers need in order to survive. But it provides another advantage.

For first offenders, it gives them the ability to refuse to blow with a little more freedom. When you know that your driving privileges may not be at stake, it becomes more advantageous to simply take the suspension than risk a high likelihood of a guilty verdict in the future. After all, a lack of quantifiable evidence is more advantageous to drivers during a DUI trial than a high BAC reading (which may still be inaccurate).

If you have been arrested for DUI, contact the aggressive defense team at Rudenberg & Glasser. We’ve handled thousands of cases just like yours with skill and experience.