Whether you had a trial or entered a negotiated plea, this applies to you if you have been convicted. As a DUI first offender, there are some steps you have to take to get back on the roads on your BPO (Business Purpose Only) license.
- Complete DUI School. Most of our clients have finished this long before their case is finished. But the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) will not issue a BPO license until you show proof that you have completed DUI School. It's 12 hours and costs $270. If you haven't completed it, then we should probably reschedule your plea or sentencing until you do.
- Go to the Clerk's Office at the County Court and get a certified copy of the “disposition” of your case. This is usually the Court Appearance Record of your plea or trial, but it will include all of the details of your sentence. It might cost a dollar or so, and it normally won't be available until the day AFTER you are formally convicted. The deputy clerks will know exactly what you need.
- Go to the nearest office of the Bureau of Administrative Reviews Office (this might be Clearwater, Tampa, Fort Myers or Miami) with the certified copy of your case disposition. You will fill out a form and they will issue a 30 day driving permit, which will allow you to drive for Business Purposes Only.
- Check the DHSMV website every few days. The web address is on the 30 day permit that the DHSMV issues to you.
- When your license suspension shows up on the website, you must call the DHSMV and ask them to set a hearing. (They can usually do it the same day over the phone.) They will then ask you some easy questions— Is it a hardship not being able to drive?—and tell you to go to the nearest drivers license office to pick up your BPO license.
It's that simple. Once the DHSMV tells you to pick up your license, you can go to a neighborhood office and get a plastic BPO. It looks like a regular license, except in little tiny letters on the bottom, it says "business only until xx/xx/xx." When that date arrives, you can either get a new license without the restriction, or if you're like me, just let it go.