How to Request a DMV Hearing and How a Lawyer Can Help
Those individuals that are arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs in Florida will need to address two separate issues. The first includes the suspension of your driver’s license, and the second is the legal case that will proceed in the courtroom.
Once you have been arrested for either refusing a breath test or for providing a breath test above 0.08, which is the legal limit in Florida, your license will be automatically suspended. This suspension will prevent you from driving legally from the moment you are arrested. However, what most individuals don’t know is that they can fight this suspension, but only if they apply for a DMV hearing within ten days of their DUI arrest.
The legal team at Meldon Law understands how crucial this time is for you and how critical it is to meet these stringent timelines. We also understand how complicated this process may be, so we have prepared the below outline of what happens at a DMV hearing and how our lawyers can help you fight this suspension.
What Is a DMV Hearing?
If you have been arrested for a DUI in the Fort Lauderdale area, you will need to request an administrative license hearing with the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV). This administrative license hearing is essential in determining whether you can reinstate your full driving privileges while your criminal DUI case is pending in the courts.
How to Request a DMV Hearing
Ask a Lawyer
Those that have been arrested for a DUI should seek legal advice as quickly as they can. Not only because many deadlines need to be met to ensure that you can get your driving privileges reinstated, but the hearing will allow you to present your arguments of why you should be able to keep your driver’s license. An experienced DUI lawyer will be able to help gather relevant evidence that can support your case in a way that can help sway the court in your favor.
Some critical evidence and issues the attorney will be able to raise include:
- Did the officer have a legitimate reason to stop your vehicle?
- Were you in actual physical control of the car?
- Was the Blood Alcohol Concentration Level actually over the limit?
- Was the blood test or the breath test administered properly?
- Were you legally arrested for a DUI?
During these formal reviews, the attorney will be able to bring in critical witnesses and evidence, and even be able to perform cross-examination, which can help you immensely in getting your license back. If you miss the deadline for a formal hearing review, you will still be able to try to get your license reinstated, but it will be through a simple examination of submitted materials called an informal review.
During an informal review, the officer and driver will provide evidence to the hearing officer, who will then review and decide on the matter based solely only on the materials that were submitted. The downside to the informal review is that there is no benefit of witness testimony, driver testimony, or other crucial evidence that can be presented. That is why it is so imperative to hire an experienced DUI lawyer immediately after a DUI so that no deadline is missed, and you can show your case in the best possible way to help you get your license back.
Steps to Request a DMV Hearing
To request a DMV hearing, the following steps need to be taken:
- Request a DMV hearing in writing. The request needs to include your name, address, date of birth, and driver’s license number.
- Include a statement indicating the county where the driver received the notice of suspension and the date of the suspension.
- Make sure that the request is postmarked or filed with the correct clerk ten days after the notice of suspension of driving privileges was given.
Hiring a skilled DUI attorney will ensure that this request is filed in a timely matter, and all the required information is provided to the court.
The Consequences of a DMV Hearing
Whether the DMV hearing is formal or informal, when you win, the end result is that you are keeping your license while your criminal case is pending.
However, if you lose, then you will be subjected to specific mandatory penalties, which include the following:
- 30 or 90-day hard suspension, which disallows you from driving anywhere during that specified period.
- Depending on the specifics of your incident, an additional 12 or 18-month driver’s license suspension may be included.
If your license is suspended, you can apply for a hardship license, which would allow you to drive to certain places like work, specified locations required for your job, educational purposes, and medical purposes. However, these locations will be determined by the hearing officer after you apply for a hardship license.
Failing or Waiving your Right to Appear at a DMV hearing
Failing to Appear at the Administrative Hearing
If a driver fails to appear at the scheduled DMV hearing, then their formal review will be waived, and only an informal review will be conducted. However, the benefit of having an attorney represent you is that the driver does not have to be present at a formal review. In addition, the attorney can file a motion to change the date of a formal review or even request an informal review if it looks like there will be conflicts with the formal review process.
Waiving the Administrative Hearing
In Florida, it is possible to waive the administrative hearing and still apply for a hardship license immediately. However, the driver must sign up for a DUI Level 1 school and appear at the DMV in person to request the waiver. Also, the waiver must be filed and signed within ten days of the arrest.
In addition, if you are a first-time DUI offender, you can also ask to waive the administrative hearing within ten days of the arrest and ask for a hardship license as long as you have no other alcohol-related reckless driving charges, and no other DUI charges. A DUI lawyer can discuss all these options with you and help you decide what the best course of action is for your situation.
Find a DUI Attorney
Experienced DUI lawyers and staff understand the complexities involving DUI cases, and will help protect your rights.
They know the criminal justice system in Florida and can assist you with both the administrative aspects of your case as well as the criminal portion.
If you were arrested for a DUI, do not wait any longer: Call a DUI lawyer to get the legal help you need.