We often discuss drunk driving in terms of the legal process–i.e., the arrest and trial. But it is also important to understand just how a DUI can affect your daily life going forward. Even if you are a first-time offender who is not facing jail time, you will still find that having a DUI on your record can make it difficult to do perform basic tasks like going to work or taking your kids to the doctor.
Getting Around After Your License Is Suspended
Under Florida law, your driver’s license is suspended a minimum of 180 days–and up to 1 year–following a first DUI conviction. If you are convicted of a second DUI within 5 years, the minimum suspension is 10 years. And for a third conviction within 10 years, the suspension period is at least 10 years.
It is possible under some circumstances to apply for a “hardship reinstatement” of your licenses while under suspension. If granted, you are permitted to drive “on a restricted basis solely for business or employment purposes,” according to Section 322.271 of the Florida Statutes. But you are not entitled to a hardship reinstatement as a matter of right. You have to complete a DUI school and apply for a hearing with the Administrative Reviews Office of the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.
But if you are unable to obtain a hardship reinstatement, you will need to find alternative means of getting around. Uber and other ridesharing services are a convenient, if potentially expensive option. LYNX also provides public transportation services for residents of Orange, Seminole, and Osce Counties. LYNX sells 30-day, unlimited-use bus passes for $50, making it a cost-effective option for daily commuters in the Orlando area. Some employers may even offer reimbursement or incentives to take public transit, as it reduces congestion and the demand for parking.
Getting Legal and Mental Health Assistance
Many times, people arrested for drunk driving are struggling with alcohol abuse or another mental health issue. If your own DUI arrest served as a “wake up” call to deal with a substance abuse problem, you should seek out professional help. The Mental Health Association of Central Florida offers a free “Mental Health Connections” program that can refer you to the appropriate services and providers in your neighborhood.
This is not to say you should welcome a DUI charge. It will make your life more difficult and expensive. When all is said and done, you may have to shell out thousands of dollars for court-ordered fines, legal fees, alternative transportation, and higher car insurance rates, not to mention the additional costs associated with getting your licenses reinstated.
This is why you need to take a DUI arrest seriously. At the offices of Moses & Rooth, Attorneys at Law, our experienced Orlando DUI defense lawyers can assist you at every stage of your case. We are former prosecutors who understand how the system works from the inside. Call us today at 407-377-0150 if you need immediate legal assistance.