Florida DUI Rules for the Administrative Suspension – It’s Complicated…

After an arrest in Florida for DUI, the officer will take your license and issue you an “on the spot” administrative suspension. You only have ten (10) calendar days to protect your driver’s license and ability to drive.

Some attorneys might tell you to waive all your rights by going to the DHSMV to request a waiver review hearing.

We take a different approach by ALWAYS demanding a “formal review hearing.” By asking for a formal review hearing, we can help our client get the 42-day permit so they can drive while we fight the administrative suspension.

Three Choices within the Ten Days after the DUI Arrest

Within the ten days after the DUI arrest, you have three choices:

  1. do nothing;
  2. hire an attorney to demand a “formal review hearing” and 42-day driving permit;
  3. stipulate to the administrative suspension during a “waiver review hearing” in exchange for immediate reinstatement of hardship privileges.

For most people facing a first DUI who can afford to hire a DUI defense attorney willing to fight the suspension, Option 2 is the best option. Option 2 involves fighting to invalidate the suspension (so it disappears from your driving record) in a formal review hearing.

Option 3 means that you are stipulating to the suspension and that you were DUI for administrative purposes. If you waive all your rights to contest the suspension, then your driving record will show for the next 75 years that you received an administrative suspension for DUI even if your criminal charges are ultimately dismissed or reduced to avoid a DUI conviction.

If you are eligible for Hillsborough County’s new DUI Diversion program call “RIDR” and plan on sealing your record after completing diversion, it is particularly important that you hire an attorney to demand a formal review hearing in invalidate the suspension.

Click here to read more about our recent case results in DUI cases in Tampa, FL, and the surrounding areas, including our recent results in administrative hearings to invalidate a suspension.

Option 1: Do Nothing 


Most people don’t understand the rules. As a result, they do nothing during the first ten (10) days after the DUI arrest.

Read the citation carefully. The citation operates as your notice of the suspension. The citation also contains your 10-day driving permit. After the 10-day permit expires, the 30-day hard suspension begins for a breath test case with a BAC over .08 or a 90-day suspension begins if you are accused of refusing to take the breath, blood or urine test.

If you do nothing, then that administrative suspension that you were DUI will remain on your driving record for the next 75 years even if you avoid a DUI conviction in court.

Option 2: Demand a Formal Review Hearing


If you can afford a DUI defense attorney, then demanding the formal review hearing is the best option. Option 2 is the only option that gives the driver the ability to fight to invalidate the suspension so that it is forever removed from the driving record.

Unless you get it invalidated, the administrative suspension remains on your driving record for 75 years, even if you get the charges reduced to reckless driving or get a not guilty verdict at trial.

The only exception to that rule is that if you get a “not guilty” verdict at trial in a breath test case then the administrative suspension will be removed from your driving record. See Florida Statute Section 322.2615 (14)(b) and (16).

If you demand a formal review hearing, you are entitled to a 42-day permit so that you can keep driving for hardship purposes. You are entitled to the 42-day permit if you request the formal review hearing (as long as your driving privileges were valid before the DUI arrest).

If the arresting officer or breath test technician fails to appear at the formal review hearing then the suspension SHALL be invalidated. That means that any mention of DUI for the administrative suspension disappears off the driver’s record. You can then get a duplicate driver’s license and avoid paying any reinstatement fee.

Other reasons for winning the hearing include insufficient evidence in the documents submitted to the hearing officer or inconsistencies in the evidence. Click here to read recent statistics showing why DUI administrative suspensions are invalidated.

Even if the driver loses the hearing, by attending the hearing, the attorney has gathered important evidence that can be used to fight the criminal charges. The only downside to contesting the formal review hearing is that the driver might still suffer the 30-day hard suspension (or 90 days in a refusal case).

After the hard suspension is over, the driver can then obtain a hardship license with proof of enrollment in DUI school.

Option 3: Request a Waiver Review Hearing for Immediate Reinstatement

Request Waiver Review Hearing for Immediate Reinstatement

For a driver with no prior DUI cases, the driver can go to the Bureau of Administrative Review to file a Request for Eligibility Review Form (sometimes called the “waiver review”).

The driver must personally appear within 10 calendar days.* The driver must also enroll in and pay for DUI school during those 10 days. The registration fee for Level I DUI School in Hillsborough County is $263.00.

Although the DHSMV originally took the position that the driver could only request the waiver review within the first 10 days after the arrest, at least one circuit court level decision has found that the 10-day time limit doesn’t apply to a waiver review hearing. See Bichaci v. DHSMV (2013).

The person must also pay a $25 fee for the hearing and then pay the reinstatement fee.

The benefit to this process is avoiding the 30-day hard suspension for a DUI with a BAC over .08 (or 90-day suspension for a refusal). But the downside to waiver review is that the driver has NO chance of getting the suspension invalidated ever (unless he obtains a “not guilty” verdict at trial in a breath test case).

The Rules are Complicated

How do you explain the ridiculously complicated new rules for the administrative suspension? The rules have gotten so complicated that I needed to create these graphs to explain it.

The graph used in this article applies to a driver (with no prior DUI arrest) who took the breath test and blew over the legal limit.

Hopefully, these graphs will help me explain these complicated rules – at least until the next legislative session when our lawmakers come up with something even more complicated.

This article was last updated on Friday, January 4, 2019.

One Comment

  1. DUI Suspended License Lawyer
    Posted December 11, 2013 at 23:18 | Permalink | Reply

    This is a great post! I feel so bad for so many of my clients that come to me after they have waited a week or so after being charged with DUI.

    Requesting a formal hearing and retaining a DUI attorney is automatically the best thing you can do for yourself!

7 Trackbacks

  1. […] Read more about the DHSMV’s new rules after a DUI arrest for getting immediate reinstatement after waiving the right to a formal review hearing. […]

  2. […] If you can afford a private attorney willing to fight to invalidate the suspension, your attorney will demand the formal review hearing within the 10 days after your arrest (and you do NOT need to be present). Your attorney will also obtain a 42 day temporary driving permit on your behalf (which is also called the “Business Purpose Only” temporary permit) that allows you to continue driving on a restricted basis while your attorney fights to invalidate the administrative suspension. […]

  3. […] If you were arrested for DUI in Hillsborough County over Memorial Day weekend – learn more about the importance of requesting a formal review hearing within the first 10 days after your arrest – https://tampaduiattorney.wordpress.com/2014/03/20/florida-dui-rules-for-the-administrative-suspension… […]

  4. […] Review office in Tampa, FL, in Hillsborough County. These hardship hearings can occur after an administrative suspension for a first DUI (either for 6 months or one year) or for a permanent life-time revocation after a fourth DUI (or […]

  5. […] Read more about the benefits of requesting a formal review hearing after a Florida DUI. […]

  6. […] the breath or urine test or having a BAC over .08 before the arrest, then driver should demand a formal review hearing to invalidate the administrative suspension within 10 days of the […]

  7. […] of the arrest even if they are eligible for immediate reinstatement. Click here to find out why the formal review hearing should never be waived if you can afford a good DUI attorney to help you fight to invalidate the […]

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