After you are arrested for DUI, a two part process begins. First, a criminal case is filed against you. Second, if you refused to provide a breath, blood, or urine sample or if you blew over a .08, an administrative process begins with the DMV to determine whether or not your driver's license should be suspended. These two parts are independent of each other and must be handled separately.
After you are first arrested for DUI, your DUI citation (ticket) becomes your driver's license for ten (10) days. During those first ten days you can drive anywhere you want as if your citation was your actual license. Additionally, during those first ten days you must let the DMV know that you are requesting a formal review hearing to determine whether or not the DMV should uphold the suspension of your license. If you request a hearing, you will be issued a permit (which will last 40 - 45 days) that will allow you to drive to work, church, school, or the doctor's office. Three to five weeks later, a formal review hearing will be held. If you fail to request a hearing within the first ten (10) days after your arrest, your license will automatically be suspended (six months for a blow over .08; one year for a refusal.)
At the formal review hearing, the hearing officer from the DMV is looking to determine 1) whether the officer had probable cause to believe you were driving or in actual physical control of a motor vehicle in the state of Florida while under the influence of alcoholic beverages or chemical substances and 2) whether you blew over a .08 or refused to provide a breath, blood, or urine sample. If the suspension is the result of a refusal, the hearing officer will also look to see if you were read Florida's implied consent law prior to your refusal.
If the hearing officer finds that law enforcement failed to meet (or prove) one of the requirements set forth above, you will win your hearing. If you win, your license will be reinstated. If you lose, you will be required to do a certain amount of "hard time", meaning no driving whatsoever. On a first time DUI if you blow over a .08 your license will be suspended for a period of six (6) months and you will be required to serve 30 days of "hard time." On a first time DUI if you refuse to provide a breath, blood, or urine sample (refusal) your license will be suspended for a period of one year and you will be required to serve 90 days of "hard time." After you serve your "hard time" you will be eligible for a second permit that allows you to drive to work, church, school, or the doctor's office. That permit will last for the remainder of your suspension. Please note that winning or losing your DMV hearing has no bearing on your criminal case, and that if you are convicted of DUI another license suspension may be issued by the Court.
If you have further questions about the DMV Formal Review Hearing process, call an attorney at Taracks & Associates today. Remember, you only have ten (10) days from the date of your arrest to challenge the suspension of your license. Remember, there are many defenses that can be raised at these hearings and all hope is not lost. For example, was the suspension the result of a legal "stop" by law enforcement? Did you recant (take back) your refusal and try to provide a sample? Were field sobriety tests administered properly? Were appropriate field sobriety exercises administered given your height and weight? At Taracks & Associates we know you rely on your ability to drive to earn a living. An experienced DUI lawyer from our firm will know the law and will be able to fight to help you keep your license. Taracks & Associates – The Advocate For You.