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Florida DUI Defense Attorney > Florida Driver’s License Suspension Attorney

Florida Driver’s License Suspension Attorney

Fines and even jail time are potential consequences of a drunk driving conviction in Florida, but even more immediate is the suspension of your driver’s license. This suspension occurs immediately upon a DUI arrest, and it can stay in place even if charges are dropped or you are never convicted of DUI! There are ways to fight your driver’s license suspension, but you must act quickly and know your rights. Read on to learn more about DUI driver’s license suspension, and contact the Florida driver’s license suspension attorneys at FL DUI Group for immediate assistance if you’ve been arrested for driving under the influence in Orlando or central Florida.

Suspension of driver’s license for DUI and right to review suspension in Florida

In Florida, the law regarding the suspension of a driver’s license for DUI, along with the right to review that suspension, is found at Florida Statutes 322.2615. This law states that the law enforcement officer “shall suspend” the driver’s license if the driver registers .08 or more on a breath test or refuses to take the breath test when required. If the driver is otherwise eligible to drive, the officer should at that time issue a ten-day temporary permit along with the notice of suspension.

For a first-offense DUI, the driver’s license is suspended for six months. In the case of a refusal to test, the license is suspended for one year on a first offense or 18 months on a subsequent offense.

Either a formal or informal review must be requested within 10 days after the notice of suspension was issued, or the driver may lose the right to have the suspension reviewed.

The driver may request a formal or informal review by the FLHSMV within 10 days or may request a review of eligibility for a restricted driving privilege under 322.271. An informal review is conducted by a hearing officer designated by the Department, who after examining materials submitted by the law enforcement officer and the driver, may sustain, amend or invalidate the suspension. Notice of the decision should be sent within 21 days after the expiration of the ten-day temporary permit.

A formal review must be scheduled within 30 days of the time it is requested. If this timeline is not met, the suspension should be invalidated. As in an informal review, a hearing officer will be designated by the Department to conduct the hearing. In a formal review, the hearing officer has the power to administer oaths, examine witnesses, take testimony, receive relevant evidence, and issue subpoenas for officers and witnesses. The officer will hold a hearing, question witnesses, and then make a ruling, with notice of the decision sent within seven days. As in an informal hearing, the hearing officer may sustain, amend or invalidate the suspension.

In either type of hearing, the hearing officer rules according to the “preponderance of evidence” standard, meaning the officer will rule according to which side’s evidence carries the most weight. Police officers are experienced in providing this type of evidence to a hearing officer. Make sure you are represented by a skilled and experienced DUI defense attorney as well.

FL DUI Group can help you fight a driver’s license suspension

A formal or informal review is not a full review of the entire circumstances surrounding the arrest, and it is not a criminal trial. The issues considered at a review of a driver’s license suspension are mainly limited to:

  • Did the law enforcement officer have probable cause to believe the person was driving or in actual physical control of a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol?
  • Did the person have an unlawful blood-alcohol level or breath-alcohol level of .08 or higher?

If the license was suspended for refusal to test, the issues in a review hearing are limited to:

  • Did the law enforcement officer have probable cause to believe the person was driving or in actual physical control of a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol?
  • Did the person refuse to submit to a test after being requested to do so by law enforcement?
  • Was the person told that refusal would result in a one-year (first refusal) or 18-month (subsequent refusal) suspension of the driving privilege?

Either the driver or the law enforcement agency can appeal the decision of the hearing officer to the county circuit court, which may or may not decide to hear the case. Such an appeal is limited to challenging certain aspects of the hearing but is not a complete review of the case.

Fighting your license suspension won’t hurt your criminal case

The law is clear that the decision of the FLHSMV hearing officer is not to be considered in any criminal DUI trial. Likewise, any statement made by the driver at a driver’s license suspension review hearing is not to be admitted as evidence against the driver in a DUI trial. However, this same law holds that the disposition of a DUI trial does not affect a driver’s license suspension. In other words, you could be acquitted of DUI charges or found not guilty but still have your license suspended! If you want to protect your driver’s license, it is imperative to request a hearing within ten days of the suspension and get experienced legal help to represent you in a formal or informal review hearing.

Call FL DUI Group for the Best Chance of Keeping Your Driver’s License after a DUI Suspension

For help keeping your driver’s license after a DUI arrest in Orlando or central Florida, call the FL DUI Group at 321-256-1141 for a free case evaluation with experienced Florida license suspension attorneys.

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