Florida Administrative Driver License Suspension After a DUI Arrest
If you have been arrested for DUI in Florida, you only have 10 days from the date of your arrest to fight the administrative suspension of your driver’s license through a Formal Review Hearing.
If you hire an attorney at Sammis Law Firm during those first 10 days after your arrest, we will demand and schedule your formal review hearing for you.
We will also obtain your 42 day permit so that you can continue driving while we fight the administrative suspension.
Many attorneys in Tampa do not provide this service to their clients. Other attorney will only appear by phone.
The attorneys at Sammis Law Firm understand that this hearing is often the MOST important part of your case. We appear in person every time. We obtain and serve a subpoena for every witness listed in the DMV’s packet (unless we have a really good reason not to serve the subpoena).
The evidence gained during the hearing can be used to fight the criminal charges against you. Even more importantly, if you win the hearing, then the administrative suspension will be set aside and removed from your driving record as if it never happened.
Never waive your right to a formal review hearing until after you have spoke to an experienced criminal defense attorney who focuses on DUI defense.
Serious downsides come with waiving the formal review hearing (often called the “waiver review hearing for immediate reinstatement”).
Be sure that you make an informed decision after understanding the consequences before you decide to waive the formal review hearing.
Update: Prior to July 1, 2013, no downside existed to requesting a formal review hearing to contest the administrative suspension of your driver’s license.
Now, however, a potential downside is written into the law. If you have no prior DUI or DUI related offenses or suspensions then you may be able to avoid the 30 or 90 day hard suspension by waiving your right to contest the administrative suspension. In other words, you must STIPULATE that your driver’s license will be suspended for 6 months (for a breath test over .08) or one year (for a refuse).
This suspension will then remain on your driving record for 75 years.
To avoid the hard suspension, you must request a review of eligibility for a “Business Purpose Only” restricted driving privilege which waives the right to a formal or informal review hearing. Read more about the new Florida law for DUI administrative suspension hearings.
In most cases, we advise our client to go forward with the formal review hearing even if they are eligible for a waiver review and immediate reinstatement.
We think the formal review hearing is worth risking the potential downside. If the arresting officer or the breath test operator fails to appear (even in a refusal case) then the suspension SHALL be invalidated.
Even if everyone appears, there are numerous other reasons why the suspension might be invalidated. By requesting waiver review you forever waive any right to contest the administrative suspension.
No downside to requesting the Formal Review Hearing if you have an out of state driver’s license and do not need to drive in Florida during the 30 or 90 day hard suspension period.
Even if you lose the hearing, your attorney has gathered valuable information that might make the difference in achieving a more favorable result in your criminal case.
During the formal review hearing your attorney was able to question all of the state’s witnesses that could potentially testify against you at trial.
Your attorney was able to uncover evidence for potential defenses that can be used to win your case during a motion to suppress, motion to dismiss, or during a jury or bench trial on the criminal charges.
In fact, many criminal defense attorneys agree that the administrative hearing is the most important part of your case. Find out more about how the DUI attorneys in Tampa, FL, at the Sammis Law Firm use the formal review hearings to protect Florida driver’s license and also preserve evidence that can be used to fight the criminal case.
The Florida DUI Administrative Suspension – How Long Will My Suspension Last?
After a DUI arrest your driver’s license will be administratively suspended if you either took the breath test and blew over the legal limit or if you refused to take the breath test.
The “hard suspension” refers to the time period in which you are not able to obtain a “business purpose only” or restricted driver license. In other words, during the hard suspension you can not drive for any reason.
If you are caught driving, then you will not qualify for the “business purpose only” driver license for the remainder of the suspension period.
- First Offense
- If you took the breath test then your Florida driver’s license will be suspended for 6 months with a 30 day hard suspension.
- If you refused then your Florida driver’s license will be suspended for 12 months with a 90 day hard suspension.
Update: As discussed above, for a DUI arrest that occurs after July 1, 2013 with no priors (meaning no prior DUI convictions or administrative suspensions) you might be able to avoid the hard suspension entirely by waiving your right to review with the first 10 days after the arrest.
- Second Offense
- If you took the breath test, then you will suffer a 12 month suspension with a 30 day hard suspension.
- If you refused the test, and your first offense was after a breath test, then you will suffer a 12 month suspension with a 90 day hard suspension.
- If you refused the test, and your first offense was after a refusal, then you will suffer a 18 month suspension with a 18 month hard suspension.
- Third or Subsequent Offense
- If you took the breath test then you will suffer a 12 month suspension with a 12 month hard suspension.
- If you refused the breath test and if all prior offenses were after a breath test, then you will suffer a 12 month suspension with a 12 month hard suspension.
- If you refused the breath test and one of the prior offenses was after a refusal, then you will suffer a 18 month suspension with a 18 month hard suspension.
What would you do if you could not drive for any reason for 3o days, 90 days, or 18 months?
The most devastating consequence of a DUI arrest is the administrative suspension of your driver’s license. You may be able to avoid that administrative suspension by winning your formal review hearing.
Hundreds of other reasons exist for invalidating the suspension. A few of the most common issues that can invalidate the suspension include:
- A critical witness fails to appear;
- Inconsistencies in the reports;
- Mistakes in the affidavits;
- Insufficient evidence of who was driving in a car accident / crash case;
- Failure to provide a legally sufficient reason for the stop, detention and arrest;
- The driver was observed for the entire 20 minute observation period before submitting to the breath test;
- The refusal was intentional or not willful; or
- Failure to show that BOTH breath test readings were over .08.
The Administrative Hearing with the DMV is the Most Important Part of Your DUI Case.
Aggressively litigating the formal review hearing with the DMV is one the most important steps in preserving evidence that can later be used to fight the DUI case, especially in DUI refusal cases in which the prosecutor relies almost exclusively on the testimony of the arresting officer.
Even in those cases in which you lose the DMV hearing, the fact that your DUI attorney has been able to question all of the officers against you under oath early in your case can be very crucial in fighting the criminal accusation.
Leslie Sammis is a DUI attorney in Tampa, FL, who represents individuals charged with DUI Attorney in Tampa, Hillsborough County, FL.
Submit this form to request a free and confidential consultation with one of our attorneys.