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I Just Got Arrested For My First DUI. How Do I Get My Hardship License?

A hardship license is a license issued by DMV to drivers for limited purposes such as employment, school, and medical appointments.  If you cannot avoid a license suspension, a hardship license is an excellent alternative.

If you have been arrested for your 1st DUI, you will more than likely have your license suspended in the near future.  If during the DUI investigation you 1) blew a .08 or higher or 2) refused to take a breath test, DMV will immediately begin the administrative process to suspend your license.  The officer will take your license and issue you a temporary permit which is valid for 10 days.  What you do in those next 10 days could be crucial to whether you get a hardship license.

Option 1:  You can request a formal review hearing within 10 days from your arrest.

If you request a hearing, you will receive notice of a hearing date within 30 days.  You can subpoena witnesses such as the officer or breath tech to the hearing.  It is very important that you file a form with DMV to extend your 10 day permit 42 days so that you can continue driving until the hearing.

At the hearing, the hearing officer will consider testimony and documentation submitted by the police officer.  If you blew over .08, the hearing officer will determine if sufficient cause exists that the officer 1) had probable cause that you were driving or in actual physical control of your vehicle while you were under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance and 2) whether you had a BAC of .08 or higher.

If you refused, the hearing officer will determine if sufficient cause exists that the officer 1) had probable cause that you were driving or in actual physical control of your vehicle while you were under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance, 2) whether you refused a breath test at the request of a law enforcement officer, and 3) whether the officer informed you that your license would be suspended for up to 1 year for a first refusal and up to 18 months for any second or subsequent refusal.

If you lose at the hearing, your license will be suspended for 6 months if you blew a .08 or higher and 12 months if you refused.  You will still be eligible for a hardship license in the future.  However, you will not be eligible for the hardship license for 30 days if you blew above a .08 and for 90 days if you refused.

Option 2:  You can waive the formal review hearing and immediately obtain a hardship license.

If you waive the hearing within 10 days of your arrest, your license will be suspended for 6 months if you blew above a .08 and 12 months if you refused.  However, the benefit to this option is that you can immediately obtain a hardship license.  You are not required to wait the 30 or 90 days that you would have been required to wait if you lost a hearing.

If you want to immediately obtain a hardship license, you must first enroll in DUI school.  Show proof of your enrollment in DUI school to DMV.  Then, you will need to file a form with DMV waiving your right to a formal hearing.  Finally, you will need to pay a reinstatement fee and you will get your hardship license.

What should I do?

Which option you should pick is largely dependent on the facts of your case and the circumstances in your life.  There are pros and cons to both options.  If you waive the hearing, you guarantee yourself a hardship license. However, you also lose the right to contest your license suspension and any mistake that the officer made during his DUI investigation.  If you request a hearing, you could win and invalidate the suspension.  However, if you lose, you will not be eligible for a hardship license for 30 or 90 days.

Therefore, it is vital that you consult with an experienced DUI attorney within 10 days of your arrest so that you can get the legal advice necessary to make an intelligent and informed decision on which option is best for you.  If you want to make an appointment for a free consultation at my office you can call me at 786.801.9936.

Disclaimer:  Please note that by reading this blog you are not entering into an attorney-client relationship with Hubbs Law, P.A. This blog only provides general legal information.  Every case is different and you should request a free consultation to ensure that you are getting the correct legal advice for your specific case.