Administrative Review Hearings in DUI Cases
Over the years, our firm has represented countless individuals charged with Driving Under the Influence. In describing DUI cases to potential clients, I explain that fighting a DUI requires defending on two separate fronts: First, we must fight against criminal sanctions such as prison, jail, house arrest, probation, etc. Second, we must fight against administrative sanctions that may result in suspension and/or revocation of a defendant’s driving privilege. Both types of sanctions can result in serious consequences and must be dealt with carefully. For purposes of this post, I will briefly discuss the administrative front. *Note: This post is written from the point of view of someone dealing with a 1st DUI. Prior DUI’s dramatically change the manner in which we deal with these types of cases.
So you have just posted bond the morning after your first DUI arrest. You catch a ride home, wash off the jail stink, and eat a decent meal. Now it’s time to get down to business. If you take a close look at the DUI citation that you were issued, you will see that the very bottom of the citation reads “Unless ineligible, this citation shall serve as a temporary drivers license and will expire at midnight on the 10th day following the date of suspension.” This citation will serve as your license until the 10th day, by which point you should have either requested a formal review hearing with the DMV or waived your right to a formal review hearing. There can be advantages and disadvantages to both options. Holding a formal review hearing will allow you (or your attorney) to question the officers under oath. This hearing allows your attorney to attack the basis for the suspension and also allows your attorney to gather information regarding the case. After the hearing, your license will be suspended if DMV makes a finding that the suspension is justified. If DMV does not make that finding, the suspension will be lifted and you will have a valid license for the pendency of the case. If you choose to waive the hearing, DMV will issue you a hardship license if you qualify. In order to qualify, you must: 1. waive within 10 days of arrest, and; have no prior administrative DUI suspensions, and; show proof of enrollment in DUI school, and; pay a waiver and reinstatement fee. If you fail to exercise either of these options, your hard suspension will begin on the 10th day post arrest.
Here at the firm we use a fairly simple form that outlines the process and I would be happy to share it with anyone that is interested. Remember that time is critical in these cases and failing to act can be the difference between driving and not driving for an extended period of time. Dealing with administrative issues can be complex but it is not a hopeless situation. Driving is not considered a right in Florida but that doesn’t mean the privilege isn’t worth fighting for. If you have any questions or thoughts on the topic, please email me: firstname.lastname@example.org .