Florida DUI: How To Get A Hardship License

People who drive to work depend on their vehicles - and having valid licenses to drive those vehicles. If you get arrested for a DUI (driving while under the influence) in Florida, that privilege may be taken away. However, you may be able to obtain a hardship license for business or employment purposes. Our Florida DUI expert explains how.

Florida Attorney William Umansky

William D. Umansky, a Florida attorney with over 15 years of experience whose practice focuses in the areas of personal injury and criminal defense, told us that getting a hardship license depends on how many DUIs a person has - and may involve going to DUI school, mandatory counseling, participating in an ignition interlock program and more. He broke it down for us by the number of convictions:

  • First conviction. On a first conviction of DUI, you have to complete a DUI school and apply for a hearing for a possible hardship reinstatement. The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will require an ignition interlock for six months if you have a blood alcohol level of .15.
  • Second conviction. If you have a second DUI conviction within five years, you may apply for a hardship license after one year, but must complete a DUI school and remain in a DUI supervision program for the remainder of the revocation period. If you fail to report for counseling or treatment even one time, it will result in cancellation of the hardship license. So, you may not consume any alcohol or use a controlled substance or drive a motor vehicle for 12 months prior to reinstatement. In addition, the DMV will make you get an ignition interlock for one or two years if your blood alcohol level is greater than .15.
  • Third conviction. If it's a third conviction within ten years, it's a ten-year revocation; but you may apply for a hardship reinstatement after two years. To do that, you must complete DUI school and remain in the DUI supervision program for the remainder of the revocation period. And again, if you fail to report for counseling or treatment, your hardship license will be cancelled and you cannot drive or consume any alcoholic beverage or controlled substance for 12 months prior to reinstatement and the DMV will require you to use an ignition interlock device for two years.
  • DUI manslaughter. If you have a DUI manslaughter with no prior DUI related convictions, you may be able to get a hardship license after five years, but you must meet the following conditions:

    -You cannot have been arrested for a drug related offense for at least five years. -You cannot drive a motor vehicle without a license. -You have to be alcohol and drug free for five years. -You must complete a DUI school. -You must be supervised under a DUI program for the remainder of the revocation period. -You will be required to use an ignition interlock device for two years.

    In addition, you have to complete a victim awareness program for all DUIs, which are two to four hour programs put on by the Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) about the dangers of driving drunk.

If you have a DUI issue, contact an experienced DUI attorney to discuss your situation and evaluate your options. Consultations are free, without obligation and are strictly confidential.