A few years back, the Florida legislature wanted to send a message to you, your family members and your friends. “Get arrested for a DUI and there is going to be some inconvenience in your life.” To facilitate this message the politicians passed laws that imposed a 30 day “hard” administrative suspension for individuals who blew .08 B.A.C or above into the Intoxilyzer. Motorists who refused the breath test were subject to a more punitive 90 day “hard” administrative suspension. See: If Arrested for DUI, Should I Blow or Refuse? It is important to understand the following concepts:
- A “hard” administrative suspension is imposed by DHSMV or “DMV” and not the court.
- More often than not, the “hard” administrative suspension takes effect before the individual has even resolved the issue of his guilt or innocence his DUI court case.
- Most importantly, a “hard” administrative suspension represents an outright prohibition on all driving without eligibility for any form of restricted or hardship drivers license during the aforementioned 30 day or 90 day period.
Because the United States Constitution affords us all with “Due Process, our office regularly challenged these suspensions at what is called a DHSMV Formal Review Hearing. See: Safeguarding Your Driving Privilege Despite a DUI Charge.
DHSMV Review Hearing versus DHSMV Hardship License Hearing
A Formal Review Hearing is not equivalent to a Hardship License hearing. The first type of hearing represents a challenge to the administrative suspension of your license by the rights afforded you under Florida Statutes Section 322.2615(6). Whereas, in the the second type of hearing, your license has already been suspended and the issue is whether you should be granted a hardship license with restricted driving privileges. Winning the Formal Review Hearing means avoiding the “hard” suspension that would otherwise result in the thirty or ninety day period of no driving.
When was the Last Time Florida Lessened DUI Penalties?
It is no secret that the recent economic recession is driving the spirit, purpose and direction of legislation in our state. Decision making is tied to both raising revenues and cutting costs. See:
St. Petersburg Cashes in on additional Red Light Cameras
Money Problems Redefine What Constitutes a Criminal Offense
Cutbacks Force Close of Clearwater Probation Office
Florida Considers Decriminalizing Charges and Substituting Hefty Fines
Pinellas Plans to Close Traffic Court Divisions
Florida Raises Cost of All Moving Traffic Violations,
Government Using Criminal Warrants to Discontinue Paying Benefits
Florida Governor Eliminates Office of Drug Control
Pinellas County Jail Starts Accepting Credit Cards
Tough Economy Could Mean Get Out of Pinellas County Jail for Free
Last year approximately 40,000 people found themselves arrested for DUI in the Sunshine State. Lawyers representing these individuals not only appeared on their behalf in criminal court, but also filed legal documents demanding Formal Review Hearings at the DHSMV administrative level. As you might imagine, conducting all of these hearings placed an enormous burden on the DHSMV, its staff and their resources. Of course, due process demanded that these hearings had to be conducted and the administrative license suspensions sustained (upheld) if the legislature’s goal of imposing an inconvenient “hard”drivers license suspension was to be achieved.
Now it appears that “the juice wasn’t worth the squeeze?” Those in the legal community would be hard pressed to uncover any legislation in the past two decades that did anything but “increase” the scope and penalties associated with a DUI arrest. It is clear that politicians have always believed that a “get tough on DUI” mentality would only further their political careers. Our office suspects that it is only because of fiscal problems that a new law was passed that could in many cases help first time DUI offenders.
1st Time DUI Offenders Now Have Opportunity to Keep Driving
DHSMV Documents Must Be Filed by Your Lawyer Within 10 Days of Arrest
If you are a first time DUI offender who was arrested on or after July 1, 2013, Florida’s new Statute Sections 322.2615(1)(b)(3) and 322.271(7) provide an uncharacteristic change in attitude from the legislature. You have to jump through a few hoops, but we can show you how. Under the provisions of this new law we can help you side step the “hard” administrative suspension. As a result, we can keep you driving uninterrupted with a hardship license. But time is of the essence, you must act quickly since DHSMV documents must be filed within ten day of your DUI arrest.
How Do I Obtain This Hardship License?
To qualify, your lawyer has only ten days to file a written waiver that gives up your right to a DHSMV Formal Review Hearing. Although the waiver acts to forfeit your right to challenge the administrative suspension of your privilege to drive, it also initiates your right to immediately apply to DHSMV for a “hardship license.” (Sometimes referred to as a “business license” or “work permit.”) The process avoids the 30 or 90 day “hard” administrative suspension that would be automatically imposed if you lost your DHSMV Formal Review Hearing.
How We Can Help You Obtain a Hardship License
Our office can determine whether you are compliant with the Federal Real ID Act. This is a necessary pre-requisite and important consideration in our strategy. We can likewise assist you with the proper completion of DHSMV documentation and prepare you for your hardship license eligibility review hearing. The team of criminal defense lawyers in our office has met and consulted with officials at the Bureau of Administrative Reviews, the Florida Dept. of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles and the Suncoast Safety Council. Since 1987 our office has been assisting clients in their securing of driving privileges. We are well qualified to help you under this new provision of Florida law
Why Was Florida’s Hardship License Law Made More Liberal?
You can bet our lawmakers didn’t have a sudden bout of sympathy for those persons arrested for DUI. Rather, we believe the politicians’ hands were forced by shear economic motives. If the DHSMV could save money by greatly reducing the number of Formal Review Hearings, Tallahassee lawmakers were prepared to back off a previous onerous provision of the DUI law that imposed the “hard” suspension period. By doing so, the state has set themselves up nicely to save a bundle of money they would otherwise be forced to pay in employee salaries and administrative costs. As of this writing, the law only applies to persons who have never been previously suffered a DUI related drivers license suspension in Florida or any other state.
We are experienced Pinellas Attorneys who represent clients charged with DUI and other criminal offenses arising out of St. Pete, Clearwater, and other cities within Pinellas County Former state prosecutors who can help!
Free Consultation: 727-578-0303
How to Get a Florida Hardship License
Florida DUI and Administrative Drivers License Suspension Laws
Avoiding Trouble With a DUI Hardship License
Understanding the Impact of Getting a DUI Reduced
Need Drivers License? DHSMV Staff Swamped
How a Refusal to Blow Might Help Get DUI Reduced
Can a Florida DUI Multiple Offender Qualify for a Hardship License?
Register and Avoid Problems at the Suncoast Safety Council DUI Course
Ramifications of “No Show” by Police Officer at DHSMV Formal Hearing