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The Purpose of a Florida Hardship License

The State of Florida is not known for having reliable public transportation, which is why millions of residents rely on their personal cars to get around. Few people live close enough to their jobs to arrive using alternate methods of transportation like biking or walking, which makes the loss of a license one of the heaviest impacts of a DUI.

The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles recognizes just how vital a driver’s license is for DUI defendants to continue to have a semblance of a normal life. After all, without getting to and from work, it becomes challenging to pay the DMV’s administrative fees and court costs. Thus, drivers have the option of applying for a hardship license, which allows them to operate a car for business or work purposes. A business purposes only license allows drivers to get to and from work, medical appointments, and locations they must drive to while on-the-clock. A work purposes only hardship license only permits work-related driving.

A Waiver Hearing Florida Hardship License Reinstatement

A Waiver Hearing allows drivers who have never been convicted of a DUI to IMMEDIATELY obtain a hardship license, if certain steps are taken within 10 days of the arrest.

If you have never been convicted of a DUI, a waiver hearing is the best means available to guarantee a hardship license and maintain your ability to drive a motor vehicle in Florida. The waiver hearing allows you to reinstate your driver’s license for the entirety of the suspension, whether it be for 6 or 12 months.  The driver’s license obtained is for business purposes only and does not give you an unlimited ability to drive.  It does, however, allow any driving related to your employment and includes other driving purposes, such as grocery shopping, doctor’s appointments, and church.

To begin the waiver process, you must first obtain a DMV waiver form, which is available legal offices who specialize in DUI’s, or by visiting the Bureau of Administrative reviews office. The next step is to enroll in what is commonly referred to as “DUI School”, which for first time offenders is a 12-hour course.  Even though the entire waiver process must be completed no later than 10 days from the date of arrest, you only have to enroll in the DUI school within that 10 day time period, which means to pay the enrollment fee and schedule the courses at a later date.  It is not necessary to have the school completed within the 10 days following the arrest.

Once you have enrolled in the DUI school, the waiver form must be properly completed and witnessed.  Once those steps are taken, the driver must then visit the Bureau of Administrative Reviews, along with proof of DUI school enrollment, to have a waiver hearing before a bureau hearing officer.  There is a $25 fee for the waiver hearing, which must be paid at the time of the hearing.  The hearing officer will determine the need for the hardship license and will normally give an immediate decision as to eligibility.

Assuming that the waiver hearing is successful, the driver is immediately approved for a hardship license.  You may then go to any local Department of Motor Vehicle office of your choosing, pay a reinstatement of fee of approximately $200. and leave with a valid Florida driver’s license.

If you are unable to get a successful waiver hearing, here are the 5 steps to apply for a hardship license.

  • Enroll in DUI school
  • Wait the required period to fill out an application: if you refused the breath test, you must wait for the first 90 days of your 1-year administrative suspension before you can apply for a hardship license. If you took the breath test and it was above 0.08%, you must wait until the first 30 days of your suspension pass
  • Bring proof of enrollment in DUI school to the DHSMV Administrative Review Office
  • Fill out the application and pay the filing fee
  • Once you are approved you will need to get an FR44 insurance policy

Not everyone who is arrested for DUI is eligible for a hardship license. It is best to discuss your eligibility with a qualified DUI attorney who can fight for you to retain your driving privilege.

Who is not eligible for a DUI hardship license in Florida?

    • Florida law prohibits any hardship license for a 2nd or subsequent suspension for breath test refusal or if the person has been convicted of DUI section 316.193 two or more times.
    • Drivers who lost their commercial driver license (CDL) cannot obtain a hardship license to operate a commercial motor vehicle.
    • Drivers charged or convicted of vehicular manslaughter or criminal vehicular manslaughter
    • Drivers with DUI serious bodily injury

WHAT IS AN FR44

A DUI conviction in the State of Florida will require an FR44 Insurance Policy with 100/300/50 Coverage. You must generally keep this policy in force for 3 years from your conviction date.

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OWNER VS NON-OWNER

Simply put, if you need a vehicle listed on your policy, you 'll get a Florida FR44 Owner Policy. If you don't, you'll get a Non-Owner policy. Both come with the required 100/300/50 coverage.

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