Florida Hardship Licenses
FLA. STAT. § 322.28 governs DUI license suspensions in Florida. A first offense Florida DUI conviction will result in a license suspension ranging from 6 months to 1 year. A second offense conviction will generate a 5 year license suspension, if the 2nd offense occurred 5 years after the first conviction. A third offense DUI conviction will trigger a 10 year license revocation, if the third conviction occurs within 10 years of the 2nd DUI conviction. Out of state DUI convictions count towards these license suspensions. Fortunately, the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles may grant hardship licenses to 1st, 2nd, and 3rd DUI offenders.
FLA. STAT. § 322.28(2)(e) provides for lifetime license revocations for those who have four (4) or more DUI convictions. In this regard, Florida is more lenient than Massachusetts. In Massachusetts, 4 DUI convictions will trigger a 10 year license revocation and the Massachusetts RMV requires 5 DUI convictions or alcohol program assignments to impose a permanent revocation of a driver's license.
For first offenders, the Florida DMV imposes an intiial ninety (90) day suspension for refusing to submit to a breath test, after being arrested for operating under the influence. You cannot get a hardship license during this mandatory 90 day suspension. Additionally, those convicted of a first offense DWI in Florida will have their licenses or right to drive suspended for at least 180 days. Hardship license consideration may be possible during this 6 month DUI suspension.
The State of Florida imposes 1 year chemical test refusal suspensions for first offenders who refuse to submit to breath tests, after being arrested for DUI. Unlike in Massachusetts, the Florida DMV issues hardship licenses to those who have had their licenses suspended for breathalyzer refusals. However, you must be a Florida resident to obtain a Florida Hardship License and you must serve ninety (90) days of the Florida chemcial test refusal suspension.
The Florida DMV allows for hardship consideration for work, business, educational, church, or medical purposes. In Florida, as in Massachusetts, hardship licenses are granted only after a hearing at the Department of Motor Vehicles. At the hearing, the person seeking the restricted license has the burden of convincing the hearings officer that he or she has a “serious hardship,” and is not merely suffering an inconvenience due to the suspension or revocation of his or her license. To get a Florida work license, the license loss must prevent the applicant from working and supporting the applicant or his or her family.
Like Massachusetts, the Florida DMV requires applicants for hardship licenses to enroll in and complete an approved DUI alcohol program as a condition of any hardship license. The Florida DMV also requires that the restricted license applicant be drug free for at least 1 year and not have any evidence of operation during the 1 year hardship waiting period. Also, like Massachusetts, Florida does not grant hardship licenses to drivers whose licenses have been revoked for life.
Massachusetts License Suspensions in Florida DUI Cases
Florida Statute 322.44, which implements the Driver's License Compact (DCL) in Florida, establishes the requirements which mandate reporting certain convictions such as DUI convictions to other states. The purpose of this compact is to provide for reciprocal suspensions in the driver's home state. The purpose of this law is to prevent drivers from avoiding license suspension consequences triggered by a DUI which occurred while the driver was on vacation in Florida, for example. G.L. c. 90 § 30B implemented the Driver's License Compact in Massachusetts.