Florida DUI Administrative Review Hearing
After a night of festivities, noticing a cop car following you home can spark anxiety. A traffic stop can turn into a DUI investigation in an instant. After a DUI arrest, the arresting officer usually issues a citation that acts as a notice of the administrative license suspension. A license suspension prevents you from legally driving starting the moment you are arrested, and lasts up until you appear at the administrative hearing or until you have received a hardship license. If you have recently been arrested for a DUI in Orlando, you should understand what you may face when trying to reinstate your driver’s license.
DUI defendants must request an administrative DUI hearing ten days after the initial arrest. First-time DUI offenders may have the option to waive the formal hearing and instead apply for a hardship license. In some cases, however, it may be worth waiting for the formal review hearing. Your DUI lawyer will advise you on which action to take to make the best of an unfortunate situation.
The Orlando DUI defense atorneys at The Umansky Law Firm seasoned lawyers who are passionate about protecting their client’s best interests. We can serve as your legal representation at both your DMV hearing and throughout the criminal process and implement proven effective negotiation strategies to help ensure that you retain your driving privileges.
Requesting an Administrative Review Hearing after DUI
At The Umansky Law Firm, we strongly urge DUI defendants to seek legal representation as soon as possible after their arrest. There are several actions to take and deadlines to meet to attempt to preserve your driving privileges. Following a DUI in Florida, you now have two methods available to try to keep your driver’s license. The first is requesting an administrative review hearing.
DUI defendants must request a review hearing 10 days after the initial DUI arrest. During this hearing, the hearing officer decides whether the defendant should keep his driver’s license. Those who do not wish to risk losing the hearing might be able to request a review waiver. This second option is only available to first-time DUI offenders with no previous DUI or reckless driving charges on their records.
What Happens at a DMV Hearing in Florida?
The purpose of a DMV hearing is to provide you with an opportunity to present a case as to why you should be able to retain your driver’s license. The role of your attorney is to present the case in a matter that sways the officials to rule in your favor. In order to do that, we’ll need to gather information about what transpired during your DUI arrest. Some key facts to give your attorney include:
- If the officer stopped you legitimately.
- If you refused to submit a blood or breath sample and if the officer made you aware of the consequences of doing so.
- If your blood alcohol concentration level was actually over the limit.
- If you were in actual physical control of the vehicle.
Crucial details like this and many others can help your attorney construct a strong argument against the charges. However, this is only possible if you request a formal review within the allowed time period, as formal hearings are the only setting in which you’ll have the ability to argue your case. By missing the hearing request deadline, your only chance at keeping your license would be through an informal review.
Unlike a formal review where each side has the opportunity to present their arguments and bring forth witnesses, an informal review is a simple examination of submitted materials. You — the driver — and the officer provides evidence to the hearing officer. The hearing officer then reviews it and decides on the matter based on the materials presented alone.
Benefits of the Administrative Review Hearing
A DUI review hearing can provide several opportunities that may benefit your case, even if you do not win the hearing. First, if you request an administrative review hearing, your Orlando DUI attorney will be able to represent you at the hearing. Your attorney will have the opportunity to:
- Contest the suspension of the license. A knowledgeable DUI attorney may be able to present evidence that will cause the license suspension to be invalidated. If the arresting officer or the officer who administered the breath test fail to appear at the hearing, that may also cancel the suspension.
- Gather evidence and present witnesses.
- Question witnesses under oath before the prosecutor sees the file.
Defendants and attorneys alike often choose to request the formal hearing to take advantage of these opportunities. It is possible to gain valuable information that will boost the case at trial by attending the hearing. Additionally, defendants who win the hearing can keep their driver’s license with full privileges.
Drawbacks of the Administrative Review Hearing
If you rely heavily on your driver’s license to get to work and complete other tasks, the administrative review hearing may not be the ideal option. You may be required to wait several weeks before having the opportunity to contest the license suspension at the administrative review hearing. If you lose the hearing, you stand to receive a hard license suspension which will prevent you from obtaining a hardship license. This means that you will not be able to drive for any reason for a minimum of thirty days or a maximum of ninety days depending on whether you submitted to the breath test.
The Consequences of Losing a DMV Hearing
Winning a DMV hearing (informal or formal) will result in you being able to keep your license, but if you lose, you’re subjected to the mandatory penalties. Losing the hearing can result in a 30- or 90-day hard suspension. This means you’ll be disallowed from driving anywhere for any reason during that specified period.
Depending on the details of your incident, you may also face a 12- or 18-month driver’s license suspension. You can, however, apply for a hardship license when your license is suspended. This permits you to drive to and from places like work, church, and other necessary destinations.
Waiving the Administrative Hearing
It is now possible to request to waive the administrative review hearing and immediately apply for a hardship license. First-time DUI offenders may now ask to waive the hearing within 10 days of their arrest. Those who may qualify to waive the hearing and receive a hardship license include those who:
- Provide proof that they have enrolled in DUI school within 10 days of their arrest
- Have no other DUI charges, alcohol related reckless driving charges, lost license before for other alcohol-related charges
Additionally, if you choose to waive the hearing and apply for a hardship license right away, you must sign up for a DUI Level I school and appear at the DMV to request the waiver in person. You must sign and file the waiver within 10 days of your arrest.
Orlando DUI Defense Attorneys
Immediately after a DUI arrest, you should discuss your options with a qualified attorney in Orlando who dedicates a significant portion of his practice to DUI defense. At The Umansky Law Firm, our team of attorneys holds over 100 years of experience defending DUI charges throughout Central Florida. Call our office or contact us online for a free case review.