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How do I reinstate my license after refusing sobriety testing?

When you see the blue lights flashing behind you and you know that you may be over the legal limit to drive, you have some options. You do not have to submit to any testing, and you do not have to answer any questions from a police officer. However, refusing to cooperate with sobriety testing procedures will almost certainly result in a suspension of your license. In some cases, this is the least bad option among a number of undesirable options.

So what do you do next after your license gets suspended for refusal to participate in breath or urine tests of your blood alcohol levels?

The good news is that the law provides specific remedies for just your situation. In Florida, standard practice is that your license gets suspended for one year from the date of the arrest for your first offense. After the first offense, the suspension lasts for 18 months for each offense. You will receive a 10-day permit to drive valid from the day of your arrest, and then you must wait at least 90 more days before you can apply for a hardship permit. If you've refused to participate in the tests two or more times, you are generally not allowed to seek a hardship license.

In order to possibly qualify for a hardship license, you must attend and complete DUI School within those 90 days. Similarly, when you reinstate your license, either through hardship or by waiting out the probationary period, you must complete the DUI School within 90 days. Otherwise, your license may be cancelled.

These matters are almost always easier to navigate with an experienced attorney to help keep your rights secure as you work through the process. While refusing to participate in a sobriety test rarely looks good, an experienced attorney can help you fight for your rights and demand that the arresting officer follow proper procedures. In many cases, you may have more leverage than you expect.

Source: Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, "Florida DUI and Administrative Suspension Laws," accessed June 09, 2017

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