When someone is arrested in Florida for a DUI they must request a formal review within 10 days to avoid an automatic suspension of their driving privileges. In Florida after a DUI arrest the state attacks the driver’s license on two fronts. The first is in the criminal court but the beyond a reasonable doubt standard applies. The second is the administrative license suspension process that only deals with the privilege to drive. By only attacking the privilege to drive the beyond a reasonable doubt standard does not apply. The only requirement is that the driver be provided due process. A recent change in the law has provided some advantages and disadvantages for drivers accused of DUI. The new law went into effect on 7/1/2013. It allows the driver to request a formal review hearing to challenge the suspension. If they waive the formal review hearing within 10 days of arrest they will get the 6 month or 12 month suspension for a refusal but will not be subjected to the 30 day or 90 day hard suspensions without driving. To qualify for the waiver they must pay a $200 fee, enroll in the first time DUI class (ASEC in Volusia County), have no prior DUI or DUI related offenses (wet reckless could count if your license was administratively suspended), pay a $12 hardship fee and must be in compliance with the Florida Real ID Act (having a star next to your driver’s license #). The Bureau of Administrative Reviews recently created another method to avoid the no driving part of a DUI suspension in Florida. When a driver has a breath test result over .08% they can be subjected to a 6 month license suspension administratively. When the driver refuses a breath test they can be subjected to a 12 month suspension the first 90 days without being able to drive at all.
There are some advantages and disadvantages to waiving the formal review. The formal review does not directly affect your criminal case although evidence can be gathered at the hearing and in refusal cases the suspension might be used against the driver. The benefits of the formal review are that the officer can be required to testify under oath without a prosecutor present and if proper procedures are not followed the administrative suspension can be overturned. The disadvantage is that if the suspension is not overturned the driver will be subjected to 30 days without driving on breath tests over .08% and 90 days without driving on refusals. Mistakes do happen and suspensions can be overturned but the burden of proof to sustain a suspension is low. The standard is substantial competent evidence instead of the beyond a reasonable doubt standard we typically see in criminal cases. At this point The Bureau of Administrative Reviews is requiring the formal to be waived within the 10 days to qualify for the hardship without a hard suspension. This makes it more difficult to decide if a formal review is in your best interest because the DUI packet might not be available within the 10 days. If you are accuses of a DUI in Flagler, Seminole or Volusia County contact Daytona Beach DUI lawyer Kevin J. Pitts at 386-451-5112.