DUI charges in Brevard County Florida and anywhere in the state can carry criminal and administrative consequences, including a lengthy driver's license suspension. This could happen if a person refuses to take a chemical test or the results of a chemical test indicate he or she has an alcohol concentration above the legal limit.
Drivers can challenge the suspension, although a driver must request a hearing to contest the license suspension within 10 days of the initial stop. Having an experienced attorney on your case could be critical in regaining your driving privileges.
If your license has been suspended after a DUI offense, it is important to act quickly. You only have 10 days to request a hearing, so time is critical. Contact a Melbourne administrative license revocation attorney at The Law Offices of James B. Coulter to begin building a case for your hearing.
Our attorney is willing to do whatever it takes to help you protect your driving privileges. The Law Offices of James B. Coulter represents clients throughout the Melbourne area, including Viera, Rockledge, Satellite Beach, Melbourne Beach, Cocoa Beach, Cocoa, Merritt Island, Mims, Grant, Titusville, Apopka, Ocoee, Winter Park and surrounding areas in Brevard County County. Call (321) 586-9944 to schedule a free consultation today.
If a person is accused of driving under the influence of alcohol, a controlled substance or a combination of substances, law enforcement officers likely will ask that person to take a chemical test. This could be a test of the person's breath, blood or urine, depending on the officer's request.
If a person refuses to submit to a chemical test, his or her driver's license will be suspended. According to Fla. Stat. § 322.2615, the officer would take the person's driver's license and issue a 10-day temporary permit and a notice of suspension.
The suspension could last up to one year if it is the person's first refusal. If he or she has refused to take a chemical test in the past and had his or her licensed suspended or revoked, the suspension could be for up to 18 months.
If a person submits to a chemical test and the results indicate a BAC greater than the legal limit, he or she could face an administrative license revocation. A first offense could carry a six-month suspension. If a person has had his or her license suspended in the past, it could be suspended for one year.
If a blood test has been administered, getting the results of the test could take up to five days. If the results of the test indicate the person had an alcohol or controlled substance concentration above the legal limit, his or her license would be suspended.
After an administrative license suspension, a driver can request a formal or an informal review hearing. This must be done through a written request to the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, according to Fla. Stat. § 322.2615.
The request should include the driver's name, his or her address, driver's license number and date of birth. It needs to have a statement of the date of suspension and the county where the driver received the notice of suspension.
Making the request within 10 days of the notice of suspension is critical. If a driver does not request a hearing within that time, he or she could be restricted from doing so and could be forced to endure the full suspension period.
If a formal hearing is requested, the department must schedule a hearing within 30 days of the request being received by the department. It would be responsible for notifying the person of the date, time and place of the hearing. A formal review hearing would be held before a review officer who was designated by the department.
The hearing officer would be authorized to administer oaths, examine witnesses, take testimony, receive relevant evidence, issue subpoenas for the officers and witnesses, regulate the course and conduct of the hearing, question witnesses and make a ruling on the suspension.
If the person who requests a formal review hearing fails to appear, and the hearing officer finds such failure to be without just cause, the right to a formal hearing is waived and the suspension would be sustained.
The department must send a notice to the person explaining the hearing officer’s decision as to whether sufficient cause exists to sustain, amend or invalidate the suspension within seven days after a formal review, according to state law.
If a driver requests an informal review hearing, a hearing officer designated by the department also would conduct it. The officer would examine information submitted by law enforcement and the driver and make a decision based on that.
Law enforcement officers and witnesses are not required to attend. This type of review would be conducted without the benefit of testimony from the driver or witnesses. The best attempt to protect your driving privileges would be through sufficient documentation and evidence.
After the hearing is concluded, the notice of the department's decision must be mailed to the person at the last known address on the department’s records or to the address provided in the law enforcement officer’s report. This must be done within 21 days of the expiration of the temporary permit.
Although the processes of the hearing differ, the hearing officer must determine by a preponderance of the evidence whether sufficient cause exists to sustain, amend or invalidate the suspension for both types of hearings.
The scope of the review should be limited to whether the officer had probable cause to believe the person was driving or in actual physical control of a motor vehicle while under the influence and whether the person had an unlawful BAC level of 0.08 or higher if the license was suspended for driving with an unlawful blood-alcohol level or breath alcohol level of 0.08 or higher.
The scope of the hearing should be limited to whether the officer had probable cause to believe the person was driving or in actual physical control of a motor vehicle while under the influence and if he or she refused a chemical test after an officer request if a driver had his or her license suspended after refusing to submit to a chemical test.
It is important to know if the person whose license was suspended was informed of the consequences of a refusal. For instance, if the person was not notified that a refusal could lead to a one-year driver's license suspension, he or she could fight to have it invalidated.
If you have had your license suspended or revoked because of a DUI offense, contact a Melbourne license revocation lawyer at The Law Offices of James B. Coulter. Our attorney can help you through each step of the hearing, ensuring all options are available to you. Call (321) 586-9944 to schedule a free consultation.