You had too much to drink and decided to get behind the wheel. Now you have been arrested and charged with Driving Under the Influence, or a DUI.
In the state of Florida, when you are arrested for blowing over the legal limit in a breathalyzer test—or if you refuse to submit to a breath test—your driver’s license will be automatically suspended. This suspension takes effect the moment you, the driver, is placed under arrest.
It is possible to apply for a DMV hearing to fight the driver’s license suspension if you apply within ten days of your DUI arrest.
Board-certified DUI attorney Ben Stechschulte explains…
What is a DMV Hearing?
When you have been arrested or charged with a DUI in the state of Florida, you can try to reinstate your driving privileges by requesting an administrative license hearing at the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV.) These actions must be taken within ten days of the DUI arrest and are a crucial first step toward getting your license reinstated pending the outcome of your DUI case.
You only have 10 days in which to restore your license
or apply for a hardship license.
Arrested for a DUI? The attorneys at Stechschulte Nell will work to get your license restored so you can get your life back to normal as soon as possible. Call our Tampa, FL drunk driving (DUI) lawyers today: 813-280-1244.
Related > What’s on the line? DUI Penalties
Requesting an Administrative License Hearing in Florida
When you have been charged with a DUI, you must obtain qualified legal advice as quickly as possible to avoid missing important deadlines and to build a defense for your DUI case.
An administrative license hearing allows defendants the opportunity to present a case as to why they should be able to keep their license. Your attorney will present your case as compellingly as possible to help persuade a ruling in your favor.
The hearing also helps your attorney gather important facts and details that can be later used in your DUI trial. Keep in mind, you cannot use a public defender in an administrative license hearing in Florida.
Your attorney will be able to gather evidence such as:
- Why did the officer stop you?
- Were those reasons justified, legitimate, and legal?
- Were you in “actual physical control” of the vehicle?
- What gave the officer reason to believe that you were impaired?
- What did the officer see, hear, or smell?
- Was your BAC truly over the limit?
- Did you submit to a field sobriety test?
- Which tests? Were they accurate?
- How were the tests administered?
It is also important to note that requesting a copy of the Police Report from the arrest may help build your defense.
With the above information, your DUI defense attorney will determine whether you were arrested legally, or if the arrest was unlawful. The administrative license hearing allows your defense attorney to cross-examine the officer and any other witnesses who were at the scene which is very helpful in preparing a criminal defense strategy for a DUI trial.
Related > Fact or Fiction: DUI Arrest Myths
What if I Missed the Hearing Deadline?
If the deadline for requesting a formal administrative license hearing has passed, you may submit a request for an informal hearing. These hearings are extremely limited, and there is no benefit of driver or witness testimony, or the ability to submit evidence.
Therefore, it is crucial to speak with an experienced Florida DUI Defense Attorney immediately after an arrest.
If you prevail in your formal or informal DMV hearing, you can retain your driver’s license pending the outcome of your DUI trial.
Mandatory DUI Penalties
If you lose your formal or informal DMV hearing, you will be subjected to mandatory DUI penalties.
30 or 90-day driver’s license suspension
Or 12–18-month driver’s license suspension depending on the specifics of your DUI case
Failing to Appear
If you have secured a DMV administrative license hearing, but do not show up, you will forfeit your right to a formal hearing. You will still be able to apply for an informal review.
Bottom line: Do not miss your hearing.
If your driver’s license has been suspended, you may be eligible to apply for a Florida hardship license. This hardship license will allow you to drive to specified places such as work, medical appointments, school, or other critical places.
In this case, the hearing officer will determine which places you can drive to if your application is approved.
Top-Rated DUI Defense
At Stechschulte Nell, our board-certified DUI attorney, Ben Stechschulte, has years of experience in successful DUI hearings and handling DUI formal administrative reviews. We will help you to keep your driving privileges and protect your reputation.
We also may be able to successfully argue to eliminate damaging evidence or even get the charges dropped depending on the particulars of your case.
We will help you move forward after a DUI arrest in Tampa Bay. Do not let a lapse in judgment derail your future; call us now to speak with an experienced DUI attorney—813-280-1244.