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A judge reviews legal precedents in his Orlando office.When you are arrested for DUI, the arresting officer will almost always take your driver’s license and give you a notice of suspension.  (See below for the rare exception to this).  Under Florida law, those arrested for DUI who take the breath test and blow over a .08 will automatically have a 6-month administrative suspension of their driving privilege initiated by the FLHSMV (DMV).  If you refuse to take the breath test the administrative suspension is for a minimum of 12 months or 18 months if you have previously refused to take a breath blood or urine test. See Florida Statutes § 316.1932.

The Administrative Suspension Is Completely Separate From The Court Case For DUI

Everyone knows that when you are arrested for DUI you will have to answer for the crime in a courtroom.  Most people do not realize that there is a completely separate process that cannot be ignored. This is the administrative suspension of their driving privilege. Further, when you are arrested the administrative suspension is the most time-sensitive worry you have. You must act quickly to save your driving privileges.

You Only Have 10 Days To Fight The Administrative Suspension Of Your Driving Privilege

When you are released from jail, you will be given a DUI citation (ticket). This ticket will also contain a “Notice of Suspension,” which will inform you that you have 10 days to request a formal review hearing.  Click here to learn more about formal review hearings.  If you do not act within the 10 days after your arrest, you lose your right to a hearing and your ability to drive.

If you are a first-time DUI offender, then during the 10-day period you have a choice to make:

1) Have a formal review hearing and fight the suspension of your driving privilege.

2) Do not fight the administrative suspension and accept a hardship license that will allow you to drive for certain reasons during the entire length of your suspension.

Option 1: Have a Formal Review Hearing

We have other articles on the Formal Review Hearings, so here we will only discuss your choice whether to have a hearing or waive it.  If you choose to have a hearing, you will either win, which means the hearing officer invalidates the suspension of your driving privilege, or you will lose.  If you win, you get your regular driver’s license back pending the outcome of your court case.  If you lose, you will have a period during which you cannot drive at all for any reason.  The length of the period during which you cannot drive will vary depending on whether you took or refused the breath test. If you took the breath test, it will be 30 days of no driving, followed by the balance of a 6-month administrative suspension on a hardship license. If you refused to take the breath test, you will have a 90-day period of no driving followed by the balance of the year on a hardship license.

Option 2: Waive your Right to A Formal Review Hearing

About 10 years ago, due to budget cuts, the offices of the Bureau of Administrative Reviews were almost all closed. At the time there was an office in each county where Formal Review Hearings were held. There were also plenty of hearing officers to hold these hearings.  When the State closed all but a handful of offices, they needed a way to decrease the number of hearings. A new option was given to drivers facing an administrative suspension.  The State created an incentive to waive your right to a formal review hearing. A driver arrested for a first time DUI who decided not to fight the administrative suspension of their driving privilege would (if they qualified) be able to get a hardship license immediately and not risk any period of no driving, whether they took or refused the breath test.

If you choose the first option having a formal review hearing, you have a chance to win your regular unrestricted license back, but if you lose you have that period of hard suspension (no driving at all) for either 30 or 90 days depending on if you took the breath test or not.  Many people cannot afford to risk a period of no driving because they will lose their jobs and not be able to pay their bills. Therefore option 2 was created. Don’t fight. Don’t cost the State of Florida money by requiring a hearing and you will be rewarded with the knowledge that although you will only be able to drive for certain reasons, you will not lose your job or ability to pay your bills.

An Expert DUI Attorney Can Help You Decide Which Choice To Make

Most law firms handling DUI cases have a one-size-fits-all answer to the question of whether or not you should request or waive your right to a formal review hearing. At Katz & Phillips, P.A. we recognize that each case is different and so are your life circumstances.

You may be able to risk a period of no driving and have great arguments to invalidate the suspension of your driving privileges based on the facts of your case. Maybe you cannot afford the risk of a 90-day hard suspension because you will lose your job. Our Board-Certified DUI Defense Experts will discuss the facts of your case and your unique situation with you and guide you to the best decision for you and your family. We have no cookie-cutter answers here. Our advice will always be based on your unique situation.

It Is Possible to Beat the Administrative Suspension of Your Driving Privilege

An expert DUI Defense attorney will know what arguments to make to invalidate the suspension of your driving privilege.  Each case will present its own unique facts which may be argued to invalidate the suspension of your privilege.

In many cases, the legality of the officers’ actions at each step of the investigation can be called into question. Was the stop legal? Did the officer have reasonable suspicion of a crime or probable cause of a traffic infraction upon which to base the stop of your car?  If so, did he or she have reasonable suspicion of a crime to continue to detain you for an investigation? Was the breath test machine properly operated?  Maintained? Inspected?

These are just a few reasons an experienced Board-Certified DUI Defense expert like those at Katz & Phillips, P.A., can use to get your suspension invalidated. Call us today to discuss your unique situation and how we can help.