Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Administrative License Suspension Procedures after a DUI Arrest in Florida May Soon Change

Tampa Bay Criminal Attorney and Former State Prosecutor Melinda Morris of the Morris Law Firm discusses a proposed Bill to change administrative suspension laws for DUI in Florida.

Issue:

Senator Thad Altman (Florida Senate - R) introduced Senate Bill 864 in January, which aims to change the administrative license suspension laws for driving under the influence of alcohol in Florida.

Specifically, the propsed bill states that if a driver is pulled over on suspicion of driving under the influence, they would receive a notice to appear at a Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles Bureau of Administrative Review Office, in addition to receiving a notice of the license suspension.

Once the driver appears at their hearing with the FDHSMV, they may be permitted to immediately choose a “business purpose only” license, which allows the driver to operate their vehicle for limited circumstances, such as driving to and from work.



Why This Matters To You:

Currently, if you have been arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) in Florida and you refuse to submit to chemical alcohol testing or fail to pass an intoxication test, such as a blood alcohol test or a breath alcohol test, you will automatically receive notice of an administrative license suspension.

The laws surrounding DUI driver’s license suspensions in Florida currently provide the driver with an opportunity to request an administrative review hearing within ten (10) days of receiving notice of the suspension after a DUI offense.  The formal administrative review hearing allows the driver to challenge the suspension.  If the driver wins, their license will be reinstated.  If they lose, their license will remain suspended.  Currently, any driver with an administrative license suspension can request a “business purpose only” license if they do not successfully challenge their license suspension after a 30 to 90 day period has passed and they are deemed eligible.

If passed, SB 864 would limit the driver’s opportunity to request a formal administrative review hearing.  If the driver appears at the Administrative Review Hearing Office as stated in their notice and they elect to receive a “business purpose only” license, they will waive their right to challenge the suspension at a formal review hearing.  Although it may appear to be an advantage to receive a “business purpose only” license immediately, any eligible driver can receive this type of license after a certain period of time if their license has been suspended administratively.  However, the driver is not currently required to waive their rights to a formal review hearing, and if the driver wins at the formal hearing, their driving privileges will not be suspended or limited at all.


What To Do Next:

If you have been charged with driving under the influence (DUI) in or have received an administrative license suspension in Tampa, contact a St. Petersburg Criminal Defense Lawyer to discuss possible defenses and specific strategies that may exist in your case.  Call the Morris Law Firm at 727-388-4736 to discuss you case directly with an attorney, or fill out our Online Form to be contacted for a free initial consultation.  The Morris Law Firm can help.  Attorney Melinda Morris has specific knowledge and experience in representing DUI offenses and administrative license suspensions throughout Pinellas County the entire Tampa Bay, FL area (St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Tampa, Hillsborough, Pasco, Manatee, Sarasota, Largo, Dunedin and Bradenton).