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When Can I Drive After A DUI Arrest?

It depends. See the additional questions and qualifiers on this page.

Did You Blow Under .08?

If you blew under the legal limit, the administrative suspension of your license doesn’t apply. If your license was valid at the time of your arrest, it remains valid despite being arrested for DUI. Administrative suspensions only apply to Driving with an Unlawful Balance (“DUBAL”) and refusal cases. The DHSMV can not administratively suspend your license for Driving Under the Influence of Drugs. If you blew below .08 and you provided a sample of your urine, your license will not be suspended by the DHSMV.  But, even with a breath alcohol level under .08, you can still be found guilty in the criminal court and the judge will revoke your license. In other words, you maintain your full driving privileges pending the outcome of your criminal case.

Hardship License?

A hardship license is a limited purpose license that allows you to drive for the necessities of life. The necessities of life are generally described as “church, school, work, food, and medical treatment.” The courts have tended to interpret this list liberally. For instance, driving to McDonalds was found to be a necessity of life because it was related to the consumption of food. Driving to pay the electric bill was found to be a necessity of life because having power in one’s home is seen as a necessity.

At the other end of the spectrum, if you’re pulled over and you’re coming from a friend’s house, the chances are you’re in violation of the hardship restriction and you might end up going to jail.

Commercial Driver License Holders?

You can not drive a commercial motor vehicle on a hardship license. If you’re arrested for DUI and you are a CDL holder, your CDL endorsements are no longer valid. Unfortunately, this is true regardless of the type of vehicle you were driving at the time you were arrested.

If you are convicted of a first offense of DUI, your CDL is gone for a year.

If you are convicted of a subsequent DUI charge, you lose your CDL permanently.

Were You Over The Legal Limit Or Did You Refuse To Blow?

If you’ve been arrested for DUI and you blew .08 or above or if you refused to take a breath test, the police officer likely suspended your license and issued you a DUI citation.

If your license was valid at the time of your arrest, your DUI Ticket will act as a hardship license for the 10 calendar days following your arrest.

If your license was not valid at the time of your arrest, you are not authorized to drive.

If you don’t know whether your license was valid at the time of your arrest, you can find out. At the bottom of the DUI citation, there is a portion that reads “Eligible for Permit?” with two checkboxes yes or no. If the box is checked yes, the DUI citation is your permit.  If the box is checked no, the police officer has indicated that your license was previously suspended and you are not authorized to drive.

Don’t just take the cop’s word for it, however. Not all police officers know what that box is for. Some of them will check the no box, when in fact they should have checked yes.

You can double check the officer on the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicle’s (“DHSMV”) website by checking your license status. It doesn’t cost anything to check, and it takes less than a minute. (I’ve included the web address, but keep in mind it changes from time to time.  Remember, it can take a few days for your DUI suspension to show up on your license, so just because it says your license is valid on the first day after your arrest doesn’t mean you’re in the clear.

If the DHSMV website shows that your license is valid, or the only suspension is for the DUI, you should be able to use your DUI ticket as a hardship license.

Request A Free No-Obligation Case Evaluation?

When you call Jeff Lotter for a Free No-Obligation Case Evaluation you will speak with Jeff Lotter directly (cell 407-906-5040). You will discuss the specifics of your case, discuss costs regarding legal representation and formulate a plan to resolve your case.