A pending DUI is similar to a road that forks. The left side of the fork that you come upon first is the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) administrative suspension hearing. The DHSMV suspension starts the day you’re arrested and can last 6 months if you agreed to give a breath test sample and 12 months if the breath test is refused and it was the first time you’ve ever refused the test. If it is your second time refusing, the suspension will last 18 months. When you’re arrested for DUI, you can drive for10 days without restriction, using the DUI citation issued as your license. Within 10 days of arrest, a formal review hearing with the DHSMV must be requested if you hope to challenge the administrative suspension. Upon request of the administrative hearing, a 42 day driving permit will be issued, and a hearing to challenge the DHSMV suspension must be held within 30 days of the DHSMV’s receipt of your request. This hearing is held in front of a DHSMV employee known as a “hearing officer.” After the hearing, if the suspension is overturned, your full driving privilege will be reinstated. If the suspension is upheld, a period called “hard time” begins 7 days from the date of the hearing. Hard time is a period when you will not be allowed to drive for any reason whatsoever. If you took a breath test and blew .08% or above, the hard time period will be 30 days. If there was a breath test refusal, hard time will be 90 days. Action to obtain a DHSMV hearing must be taken within 10 DAYS OF ARREST!!! Call immediately to speak to our Pinellas DUI attorneys about this time sensitive process.