Among the many consequences associated with a conviction for driving under the influence, losing the ability to legally drive may be the most damaging. After all, many people rely on their vehicles to get to work or bring the children to school. A single lapse in judgment could put these responsibilities in jeopardy.
According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, the minimum driver license suspension for first-time DUI convictions is 180 days and the maximum suspension is 1 year. In other words, a person will not be able to legally operate a vehicle for at least half a year -- unless it is reinstated early.
One of the options to have a license reinstated before the end of the mandatory 180-day suspension is to apply for a hardship license. The bar for having a hardship license approved is set fairly high, however. This process moves forward outside of court and is handled by the department of motor vehicles.
Even though license reinstatement hearings are not held in court doesn't mean that they should be taken any less seriously. As such, it may be just as helpful to pursue this option with the assistance of an attorney. By being proactive about this step, a person can feel fully prepared for the hearing.
In Florida, those applying for early driver license reinstatement must complete DUI School and treatment. A person's license can be reinstated while these steps are completed, but failure to complete them within 90 days could cause the person's license to be revoked until the requirements are satisfied.
It's worth noting that reinstatement is an option available only to first-time offenders. Anyone who has multiple DUI convictions will likely have to deal with the full suspension period
Source: Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, "Florida DUI and Administrative Suspension Laws," accessed May 13, 2014