One of the consequences of being convicted of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol (DUI) is that your driver's license is suspended for a certain period of time. The amount of time depends upon how many times you've convicted of DUI in the past. One of the most frequent questions that my DUI clients ask me is how they can obtain a work permit from the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles so that they can continue to drive to their jobs.
Tallahassee attorney Reginald R. Garcia has recently written the following article that explains how a law soon to go into effect here in Florida will enable certain people who have been convicted of DUI more than once to obtain a restricted license:
RESTRICTED "EMPLOYMENT PURPOSES ONLY" DRIVER'S LICENSE NOW AN OPTION FOR CERTAIN MULTIPLE DUI OFFENDERS . . . LEGISLATURE CREATES "HARD PATH BACK" TO INCREASE PUBLIC SAFETY
Effective October 1, 2010, certain multiple DUI offenders will have an option to petition the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) for a restricted "employment purposes only" drivers license. Persons convicted of DUI manslaughter will not be eligible for a license under the new law.
Previously a person convicted four or more times of driving under the influence in violation of [Florida statute section] 316.193 . . . was subject to a permanent revocation.
10-YEAR WAITING PERIOD AND FOUR OTHER ELIGIBILITY CONDITIONS
Ten years after the date of the last DUI conviction or termination of incarceration, whichever is later, the person may petition the DHSMV's "Bureau of Administrative Review" (BAR) and must meet the following four eligibility requirements:
- Has not been arrested for drug-related offense for at least five years prior to filing the petition;
- Has not driven a motor vehicle without a license for at least five years prior to the hearing;
- Has been drug-free for at least five years prior to the hearing; and
- Has completed a DUI program licensed by the department.
DHSMV HAS DISCRETION TO REINSTATE THE LICENSE
Within 30 days of receipt of the petition, DHSMV shall provide for a hearing. The petitioner has the burden to demonstrate the four eligibility requirements are met. The BAR's hearing officer will determine the petitioner's "qualification, fitness and need to drive" to reinstate the driver's license. Subject to current law and new administrative rules, the hearing officer will have discretion to grant the license.
To increase the likelihood of approval, counsel should assist the petitioner to obtain employment verification, family information and character letters to demonstrate the petitioner's "fitness and need to drive."
If the applicant is allowed to continue through the process following the initial hearing, he/she must be accepted for "special supervision services" by a DUI program licensed by the DHSMV as well as pay for the installation of an ignition interlock device. If the license is issued it will be restricted to employment purposes only.
THE HARD PATH BACK: ACCEPTANCE INTO A "SPECIAL SUPERVISION SERVICES" DUI PROGRAM
To determine the petitioner’s further eligibility and potential risk, the DUI program assessment for "special supervision services" requires:
- the applicant under penalty of perjury to complete the "Information Sheet Special Supervision Services," essentially a binding contract and registration form that describes, in detail, the procedures and conditions.
- the applicant complete a "psychometric exam" to identify risk factors, and "chemical testing";
- the DUI program certified evaluator to:
- Analyze the driver's record and FDLE criminal history profile (both are public documents,and the applicant should review them prior to submission of the petition);
- Review "letters of abstinence" from employers, neighbors and family;
- Review medical records, previous DUI program records, prior treatment records and chemical test results; and
- Meet in person with the applicant and conduct a bio psychosocial evaluation to review historical and current information related to family, physical and mental health treatments, employment, education and use of substances;
- the DUI program staffing committee is to analyze all information, make a risk-assessment, and determine acceptance into the program. (If acceptance is not granted the license is denied.)
DRIVER'S BURDEN TO MAINTAIN THE RESTRICTED LICENSE: "IGNITION INTERLOCK DEVICE" AND STRICT COMPLIANCE WITH SPECIAL SUPERVISION
If the restricted license is reinstated, the driver must:
- Maintain an "ignition interlock device"pursuant to [Florida statute] section 322.2715(3)(e) for a period of not less than five years;
- Be supervised by a DUI program (described herein), including at least four meetings per year to maintain evaluation, education, and treatment requirements;
- Maintain abstinence from alcohol and drugs, participate in support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous, and be subject to random testing;
- Not commit a new driver's license or other criminal violation which would trigger a mandatory license revocation; and
- Pay all the reasonable costs of the Interlock device and special supervision.
2011 CHANGE TO FIVE-YEAR ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENT
Effective October 1, 2011, the petitioner has five years (instead of ten years) since their last conviction to seek this restricted license.
PUBLIC POLICY: SAFETY FIRST
Research provided by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) reports 50 to 75 percent of persons with permanently revoked drivers licenses continue to drive without a driver's license, often without lawful tag registration, and without auto PIP, liability, and property damage insurance. Based on this compelling research, the Florida Legislature unanimously approved the restricted "employment purposes only" option for applicants who have dealt with the issue of addition and can now demonstrate an ability to be a law abiding and productive citizen.