The short answer to “Can I Drive After a DUI in Pinellas County” is yes, but only if a hardship license is acquired by making a challenge or if your charges are dropped. First-time DUI offenders may also be able to retain their license via the D.R.O.P. program.
The best thing to do is to contact a Pinellas County DUI defense attorney, you can seek to get your case dropped or charges reduced while retaining your license. We welcome you to contact our experienced criminal defense attorney team today for a free consultation.
Immediate License Suspension
Immediately after a DUI arrest in Pinellas County, your license will be suspended.
Challenge Your License Suspension within 10 Days of the Arrest
- You can challenge your license suspension.
- But you have just 10 days from the date of your arrest to make a challenge.
- This includes weekends and holidays.
To make a license suspension challenge, you will need to work with your Pinellas County criminal defense lawyer to:
- Make a civil administrative hearing – it must be held within 21 days of the date that your temporary license expires.
- If that fails; appeal the suspension via a ‘petition for writ of certiorari’ to the circuit court in Pinellas County.
Hardship Licenses to Drive After a DUI in Pinellas County
You may still be able to acquire a ‘temporary hardship license’ that lasts for 42 days. This can allow you to drive for essential business purposes only. As stated above, you must make a challenge to acquire this within 10 days of your arrest.
The DHSMV will determine if you:
- Had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or greater; or
- Refused a breathalyzer test;
- Are a commercial driver with previous DUI convictions
- Have been accused of causing injury or death in a DUI accident.
Pinellas County D.R.O.P. Diversion Program
Alternatively, first-time DUI offenders can also consider the ‘DUI Rehabilitation of Offenders Program (D.R.O.P).’
This is a fast-track system for first-time offenders that can reduce your charge and allow you to get your life back on track faster.
You also won’t receive a court-ordered suspension of your license. However, under some circumstances, the DMV may still have your license suspended or restricted.
How Long Will I Be Unable To Drive After a DUI Conviction in Pinellas County?
1st Time DUI
- 6-month to 1-year license suspension.
- You will need a hardship license to be able to drive to work.
2nd Time DUI
- If it occurs within 5 years of your previous DUI:
- A minimum of 5-year license suspension.
- If it occurs 5 or more years after your previous DUI:
- A minimum of 6 months license suspension.
3rd Time DUI
- Minimum 10 years license suspension.
- You may be eligible for a hardship license after two years.
4th Time DUI
- The license is permanently revoked.
- You cannot obtain a hardship license or license reinstatement.
Get Your Charges Dropped
In many cases, it is also possible to try to get your DUI charges dropped, and therefore allow you to drive again after your DUI in Pinellas County.
We often encounter the following reasons for DUI cases to be dismissed:
- Unlawful stops (such as the police not having reasonable suspicion or probable cause that a crime or traffic infraction was committed).
- Incorrect or unreliable breathalyzer test results (such as due to uncalibrated equipment, incorrect utilization of the equipment, incorrect or poor instructions).
- Justified breathalyzer test refusal (Such as due to language barrier, impatience from the officer or medical officers).
- Incorrect field sobriety test results (The officer doesn’t know your usual sober balance and coordination, you have a physical impairment or the office wasn’t qualified to conduct the test).
Pinellas County DUI Statistics
- 452 DUI arrests in 2022.
- Peak time for DUI arrests: 12 AM-4 AM
- Peak days for DUI arrests: Weekends
DUI Defense Lawyer in Pinellas County, FL
If you’ve been arrested for a DUI in Pinellas County, please contact our criminal defense lawyers for a swift and aggressive response.
Our experienced team regularly helps people charged incorrectly, unlawfully or in need of a strong defense, to gain a future free from the consequences of prison and a criminal record. We can also prioritize saving your license.
Our Pinellas County criminal defense attorneys at Battaglia, Ross, Dicus & McQuaid, P.A., are part of one of Tampa Bay’s most prestigious law firms. We have the reputation and connections to make things happen.