DUI and License Suspensions: FloridaĂ˘'s 10-Day Rule
If you are arrested for Driving Under the Influence in Florida for having a blood alcohol level above a .08, you face two immediate problems. First, a criminal traffic case is initiated pertaining to the DUI charge. Second, your license gets suspended administratively in accordance with Florida Statute 322.2615.
Once a driverĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s license has been suspended, Florida law states that the driver may request a formal or informal review of the suspension by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles within 10 days of the suspension. Usually, this is within 10 days of the DUI. An informal review is a hearing conducted by an officer employed by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, and consists only of an examination of the related materials submitted by the law enforcement officer and by the person whose license was suspended.
A formal review is a hearing held before a hearing officer at the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. During a formal review, the hearing officer may issue subpoenas for the involved parties, examine witnesses and take testimony, receive and review evidence, and make a ruling on the suspension, among other things. When a driver requests for a formal review, the hearing officer has to schedule a hearing within 30 days of the request. It benefits the person arrested for DUI to hire a criminal defense lawyer within 10 days of the DUI/suspension, so that the attorney may request a formal review hearing. This opportunity can ultimately lead to findings that may be beneficial to the defendant in their criminal case.
In either situation, the hearing officer will determine whether sufficient cause exists to uphold, amend, or invalidate the suspension. Then, the department must then notify the defendant of the hearing officerĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s decision. If the officer decides to uphold the suspension, then the driverĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s license can be suspended for 6 months, 12 months, or18 months depending on the driverĂ˘â‚¬â„˘s history and the circumstances of the case. The law states that the designated suspension period begins on the date on which the notice of suspension was issuedĂ˘â‚¬â€ťthe driver must be aware that his or her license has been suspended.
Time-sensitive criminal matters, such as DUI arrests, should always be handled by a criminal defense attorney, as it is easy to miss legal deadlines and forego options when you arenĂ˘â‚¬â„˘t aware that they exist. Consult a DUI lawyer immediately after your arrest so that you can get the best possible outcome in your case.
In addition to DUI issues, our firm also takes on cases involving divorce, custody battles, relocations, domestic violence injunctions, will and probate, criminal defense, personal injury, medical malpractice, and wrongful death cases. While our main office is in Gainesville, we also handle family law and criminal defense matters through our satellite offices in Ocala, Chiefland, Lake City, and Palatka, and we accept probate cases statewide on a case-by-case basis.
For help with your legal issue, contact the Law Offices of Stephen K. Miller for a free phone consultation at (866) 496-8752 or via email at Info@ForYourLaw.com
BY: Monica Perez-McMillen, Attorney at Law
June 27, 2012