1005 N. Marion St.
Tampa, FL 33602
813.250.0500
  •   ›  
  •   ›  
  •   ›  
  • Formal Review Hearing

DUI Formal Review Hearings in Tampa, FL

You only have 10 days after your DUI arrest to request a formal review hearing to contest the administrative suspension of your driver's license. The rules for the administrative suspension are found in Florida Statute Section 322.2615 and Chapter 15A-6 of the Administrative Code. The administrative suspension occurs after a DUI arrest for any refusal case or breath test reading over .08.

Hiring an experienced DUI attorney at this stage of the case is important because of the complexity involved in successfully contesting the administrative suspension of a Florida driver license. We are familiar with the best ways to conduct a formal review hearing in Tampa to contest the administrative suspension.

Winning the administrative hearing is an important step towards protecting your driving record. Winning the administrative hearing also protects you from the collateral consequences that come with an administrative finding that you drove under the influence of alcohol or drugs, including a dramatic increase in your insurance premiums even if you ultimately avoid a DUI conviction in the criminal case.

Contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer at the Sammis Law Firm to discuss your DUI case and protecting your driver's license. Call 813-250-0500 today.


Requesting the Formal Review Hearing in a DUI Case

Benefits of requesting the Formal Review Hearing under Florida law include:

  • Requesting the formal review hearing gives you the opportunity to obtain a 42 day BPO license (a.k.a. the hardship license) so that you can continue to drive while your attorney fights the administrative suspension;
  • You will automatically win the administrative hearing if the arresting officer or breath test operator fails to appear after being served with a subpoena;
  • If another witness fails to appear, you can obtain another extended driving permit while your attorney enforces the subpoena against the witness;
  • You may win the hearing if there is insufficient evidence related to any necessary showing required to uphold the suspension.;
  • If you win the hearing then the administrative suspension is INVALIDATED, which basically vacates the action taken by the officer at the scene of the arrest;
  • Even if you lose the hearing, your attorney will have the opportunity to subpoena witnesses and documents, inspection calibration records, and explore important defenses early in your case; and
  • The officers or civilian witnesses will be locked into their story which allows your attorney to exploit inconsistent statements or disprove certain versions of events early in the case.


When the Arresting Officer or Breath Test Operator Fails to Appear?

If the arresting officer or the breath test operator (even in a refusal case) fails to appear at the formal review hearing after being properly served with a subpoena then Florida Statute 322.2615 provides that the hearing officer SHALL invalidate the suspension.

If your attorney is successful in convincing the hearing officer to set aside the suspension of your driving privileges for any reason then the hearing officer will sign an order. What does the order say if you win the hearing? 


STATE OF FLORIDA
DEPARTMENT OF HIGHWAY SAFETY AND MOTOR VEHICLES
IN THE MATTER OF THE DRIVING PRIVILEGE OF:

___________,
Petitioner.                                              Driver's License Number: _________________

Final Order on Results of Review Hearing

This case is adjudicated under the authority of Chapter 15A-6, F.A.C. and section 322.2615. The Hearing Officer has set aside the suspension of your driving privilege dated ________ for driving with an unlawful alcohol level or refusing to submit to a lawfully requested chemical test. Upon reviewing the facts of the case, the Department Hearing Officer has determined that this is insufficient evidence to support:

The law enforcement officer had probable cause to believe that the person who's license was suspended was driving or in actual physical control of a motor vehicle in this state while under the influence of alcoholic beverages or chemical or controlled substances.

This decision of the Department Hearing Officer has no bearing on any DUI trial. If you are convicted of a DUI charge in court, your driving privilege will be revoked according to Florida law. You will be required to surrender to the court all driver licenses in your possession.
 

Ordered this ___ day of ______, 2013.
                                                        _______________________________
        ________, HSMV Field Hearing Officer
        Bureau of Administrative Reviews
        Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles

A law enforcement agency may appeal any decision of the department invalidating a suspension by a petition for writ of certiorari in the circuit court in the county wherein a formal or informal review was conducted within 30 days of this order, pursuant to Florida Rules of Appellate Procedure 9.100.

HSMV 78060 (Rev. 05/11)


Opportunity to Explore DUI Defenses Under Florida Law

Even in those cases in which your Tampa DUI lawyer is not able to invalidate the Florida administrative suspension of your driver license, your attorney will nevertheless be able to cross-examine all of the state's witnesses. This cross-examination is important because it may be your attorney's only opportunity to question the witnesses before the trial or pre-trial motions in the case.

The cross-examination can then be typed up into a written transcript which can be used to impeach a witness at trial if they attempt to change their testimony.

Your administrative suspension must be removed by the Florida DMV in an unlawful blood alcohol level test if you are later found "not guilty" of the underlying offense of DUI. However, if you are charged with DUI refusal and are found "not guilty" of DUI at trial then your administrative suspension will not be removed.


The Length of the Administrative Suspension after a DUI Arrest

The length of the administrative suspension after a DUI arrest in Florida depends on whether a prior administrative suspension has occurred and whether the prior suspension was for a refusal or BAC over .08.

  • First Offense-
    • If you took the breath test your driver's license will be suspended for six (6) months with a thirty (30) "hard suspension" - meaning that you can not driver for any reason for those thirty (30) days.
    • If you refused the breath test your driver's license will be suspended for twelve (12) months with a ninety (90) day "hard suspension" - meaning that you can not driver for any reason during those 90 days.
    • For a DUI arrest that occurs after July 1, 2013, you can request a review of eligibility for a “Business Purpose Only” restricted driving privilege to avoid the hard suspension period but that request will waive your right to a formal or informal review hearing.
  • Second Offense -
    • If you took the breath test: twelve (12) month suspension with a thirty (30) day hard suspension.
    • If you refused the breath test and the first offense was after a breath test, then a twelve (12) month suspension will follow with a ninety (90) day hard suspension.
    • If you refused the breath test and the first offense was after a refusal, then your license will be suspended for eighteen (18) months with all eighteen months being a hard suspension - meaning that you can not get a hardship license.
  • Third or Subsequent Offense-
    • If you took the breath test: twelve (12) month suspension with all twelve (12) months being a hard suspension - meaning that you can not get a hardship license.
    • If you refused the breath test and all of the prior offenses were after a breath test, then a twelve-month suspension with 12 months of hard time will follow - meaning you can not get a hardship license.
    • If you refused the breath test and one of the prior offenses was a refusal, then an 18 month suspension with 18 months of a hard suspension will follow - meaning you can not get a hardship license.

Back to top


Scheduling the DUI Administrative Hearing

The DUI formal review hearings are scheduled at the Bureau of Administrative Reviews office in the county or region where the DUI arrest occurred. The hearings are governed by Section 322.2615.

The hearing must be scheduled no later than thirty (30) days after the request is made. After requesting the hearing, a Notice of Formal Review Hearing / Prehearing Order is issued. If you are eligible a temporary driving permit is enclosed with the notice of formal review hearing which normally allows you to continue driving for business purposes only for another 42 days.

The DUI permit will become effective when the ten-day permit expires.  The temporary DUI permit in Florida is restricted to "business purposes only," which means a driving privilege that is limited to any driving necessary to maintain the petitioner's livelihood, such as driving to work, school, church or your doctor. A Driver's Prehearing Statement must be completed with subpoenas for the DHSMV seal and signature within 10 days after the notice is received.

The subpoenas must be served on any witnesses to be compelled to testify at the DUI formal review hearing, which can include the officer that conducted the stop, the officer that conducted the field sobriety exercises, the officer that made the arrest, and the technician that administered the breath test or witnessed the refusal.

Furthermore, when a breath test was given, your attorney may also be able to subpoena the agency inspector and department inspectors. Yankey v. DHSMV, 2009 WL 416618 (Fla. 2d DCA February 20, 2009). Under Rule 15A-6.012(1) subpoenas can be served on any officers or witnesses identified in documents submitted to the DHSMV pursuant to section 322.2615(2), Florida Statutes, which typically include the following:

  1. Criminal Report Affidavit which alleges DUI;
  2. General Offense Police Report;
  3. Florida DUI Uniform Traffic Citation;
  4. Vehicle Impound Form;
  5. Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office Department of Detention Services, Breath Alcohol Analysis Report (for 20 minute observation period);
  6. DUI worksheet completed by the arresting officer;
  7. Florida Department of Law Enforcement Alcohol Testing Program - Breath Alcohol Test Affidavit;
  8. Department Inspection Report - Intoxilyzer 8000; and
  9. Agency Inspection Report- Intoxilyzer 8000.

Under 15A-6.012(2), a driver who requests subpoenas to be issued is responsible for the service of such subpoenas and payment of any costs and fees. Service of witness subpoenas and compensation of witnesses shall be in the manner provided for service of witness subpoenas pursuant to Sections 48.031, 92.141, and 92.142, F.S. Local police departments will usually accept service of a DHSMV subpoena within the 5 business days service requirement explained in Fla. Stat. 48.031(4)(a)3.

Back to top


Issues for the DUI Formal Review Hearing

At the formal review hearing, the Florida DHSMV hearing officer will determine by a preponderance of the evidence presented whether sufficient cause exists to sustain, amend or invalidate the suspension of the driver's license pursuant to Florida Statutes Section 322.2615. The issues to be determined during the DUI formal review hearing when it is alleged that the driver blew over the limit are as follows:

  1. Whether the DUI officer had probable cause to believe the individual was either driving or in actual physical control of the vehicle in the State of Florida while under the influence of alcoholic beverages or chemical or controlled substances.
  2. Whether the individual had an unlawful blood-alcohol level or breath alcohol level of .08 or higher as provided in Florida Statute 316.193.

The issues to be determined during the DUI formal review hearing when it is alleged that the driver refused to submit to a breath or urine test are as follows:

  1. Whether law enforcement had probable cause to believe the individual was driving or in actual physical control of a motor vehicle in the State of Florida while under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance;
  2. Whether the individual refused to submit to a urine or a test of his breath or blood alcohol level after being request to submit by a law enforcement officer; and
  3. Whether the individual was told that if he refused a test that his privilege to operate a motor vehicle would be suspended for a period of one year, or in the case of a second or subsequent refusal, for a period of eighteen months.

Furthermore, a recent decision issued on November 21, 2008, found that the hearing officer must also address whether the refusal to submit to a breath test was incident to a lawful arrest. Hernandez v. Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, --- So.2d ----, 2008 WL 4949320 (Fla. 1st DCA 2008).

Although, the Second DCA has found that the lawfulness of the arrest is not an issue at a formal review hearing. McLaughlin v. DHSMV, 2008 WL 4891047 (Fla. 2d DCA November 14, 2008). Because of the split between the various District Court of Appeals in Florida, this issue will ultimately be decided by the Florida Supreme Court.

Back to top


Filing a Writ of Certiorari after a Formal Review Hearing

At the formal review hearing, the hearing officer is required to provide minimum procedural due process of law, conduct a fair and impartial review of the evidence, and render a decision that does not depart from the essential requirements of the law. One issue in many formal review hearings occurs because the officer’s reports are inconclusive about an essential fact such as whether the reading of the implied consent and alleged refusal occurred before or after the DUI arrest.

When the evidence is inconclusive, but the hearing officer nevertheless upholds the suspension, the petitioner can file for a writ of certiorari asking the Court to grant the petition, quash the Final Order of License Suspension, and reinstate the driving privileges. The Court will then grant an Order to Show Cause and require the DHSMV to file a response. The petitioner can also request oral arguments, pursuant to Florida Rule of Appellate Procedure 9.320.

“Competent substantial evidence” has been defined as “evidence in the record that supports a reasonable foundation for the conclusion reached.” Dep't of Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles v. Trimble, 821 So. 2d 1084, 1087 (Fla. 1st DCA 2002) [27 Fla. L. Weekly D807a].

“If the [DHSMV] is going to choose to present no live testimony but to rely exclusively on written documents, then clearly it cannot ask [the circuit court] to ignore discrepancies and inconsistencies in the written documentation where the cause for such discrepancies and inconsistencies is not explained by sworn testimony.” Trimble, 821 So. 2d at 1086; see also, Dep't of Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles v. Wiggins, 151 So. 3d 457, 469-70 (Fla. 1st DCA 2014) [39 Fla. L. Weekly D1894a], rev. granted, SC14-2195 (Fla. Dec. 17, 2014).


Conclusion

If you have been arrested for drunk driving or DUI in Florida, you must act quickly to preserve all of your rights to attack the administrative suspension of your driver's license. Contact an experienced DUI Lawyer in Tampa, FL, to discuss your defenses today for any DUI arrest in Tampa, Plant City, St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Bartow, New Port Richey, Dade City, or the counties of Hillsborough County, Pasco County, Pinellas County, or Polk County.

Back to top


Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles - Florida Review Hearing

Location of Administrative Review Hearing Office

Tampa Bureau of Administrative Review

2814 E. Hillsborough Ave.
Tampa, FL 33610-4479
(813) 276-5772

Clearwater Bureau of Administrative Review

4585 140th Ave. North
Suite 1002
Clearwater, FL 33762
(727) 507-4404

Orlando Bureau of Administrative Review

4101 Clarcona Ocoee Road, Suite 152
Orlando, FL 32810
(407) 623-1100

Daytona Beach Bureau of Administrative Review

995 Orange Avenue
Daytona Beach, FL 32114-4663
(386) 254-3911

Ft. Myers Bureau of Administrative Review

4048 Evans Avenue, Suite 305
Ft. Myers, FL 33901
(239) 278-7421

Ft. Pierce Bureau of Administrative Review

3220 S. Federal Hwy., Ste. 8,
Ft. Pierce, FL 34982-8105
(561) 460-3658

Gainesville Bureau of Administrative Review

2815 N.W. 13th Street, Suite 302
Gainesville, FL 32609
(352) 955-2030

Jacksonville Bureau of Administrative Review

7439 Wilson Blvd., Rm. 9
Jacksonville, FL 32210-3597
(904) 777-2131

Lake Worth Bureau of Administrative Review

6801 Lake Worth Rd., Ste. 230
Lake Worth, FL 33467
(561) 433-3636

Lauderdale Lakes Bureau of Administrative Review

3708 W. Oakland Park Blvd.
Lauderdale Lakes, FL 33311-5802
(954) 714-3551

Miami Bureau of Administrative Review

2515 W. Flagler St.
Miami, FL 33135-1422
(305) 643-7568

Melbourne Bureau of Administrative Review -

(more info at Melbourne, Brevard County, FL - DUI Attorneys)

2325 S. Babcock Street
Melbourne, FL 32901-7121
(321)984-4910

Panama City Bureau of Administrative Review

237 W. 15th Street (Lincoln Center)
Panama City, FL 32404-6794
(850) 872-7747

Pensacola Bureau of Administrative Review

7282 Plantation Rd., Ste. 406
Pensacola, FL 32504
(850) 494-5838

Tallahassee Bureau of Administrative Review

504-A Capital Circle SE
Tallahassee, FL 32301-3817
(850) 487-2788

Winter Springs Bureau of Administrative Review

290 East State Road 434
Winter Springs, FL 32708
(407) 327-6678

Back to top


This article was updated by on Friday, January 13, 2017.

Free Case Evaluation

* All fields are required.
Schedule a Consultation
Schedule a Free Consultation at Our Office

Call us to schedule a time to talk with the attorneys in the office or over the phone.

Office: 813.250.0500 Fax: 813.276.1600

Contact Our Office
Our Tampa Office

Sammis Law Firm 1005 N. Marion St. Tampa, FL 33602 » Get Directions