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What is a formal review hearing with regards to a DUI in Florida?

Formal Review Hearings are part of the administrative proceedings related to the DHSMV portion of a DUI.  Previously, Tampa DUI lawyers were limited by Florida law which required people charged with DUI to suffer an administrative suspension from the Florida Department of Highway safety motor vehicles to go to a formal review hearing. Many Tampa DUI lawyers reported losing approximately 9 out of 10 of these hearings because of the low standards and admissibility concerns of evidence. More often than not, these hearings were little more than exercises in discovery prior to going to court and an opportunity for an informal deposition of the arresting officer.

Fortunately, the law changed on July 1, 2013. This law ultimately will serve two purposes. First, it will significantly reduce the number formal review hearings. I’m not certain whether this is a intent of the state of Florida and the Florida legislature or if this is simply a byproduct or some sort of collateral fact of the new statute. Regardless, this statute will most certainly reduce the number formal review hearings because of the incentives of simply waving the formal review hearing.   While I am not sure if this was the DHSMV’s intent, I am sure they will enjoy the benefit of it.  Secondly and more importantly, this new statute will permit those with a DUI suspension to more quickly receive their business purposes only license, better known as a hardship license. For example, if someone charged with a first time DUI with the following requirements waives their formal review hearing they will receive their business purposes only license on the spot.  The primary requirements are as follows:

  1. The individual must provide proof of enrollment in DUI School to the Florida DHSMV representative.
  2. The Individual must have no other driving under the influence charges, reckless suspensions, or otherwise alcohol-related suspensions on their driving record.
  3.  The individual themselves must physically go to the Department of Highway Safety Motor Vehicles office and request a waiver of the hearing. Is important to note that this is significantly different than the previous process which permitted attorneys to appear in behalf of the individual at the hearing and/or request a hearing.
  4. Most importantly, this waiver must be done within 10 days of the driving under the influence arrest. This falls in line with the previous statute and its request for hearing requirements.

As we discussed above, these changes will undoubtedly reduce the number of formal review hearings, and offer significant incentives for individuals to now waive their formal review hearing with no penalties. For the majority of driving under the influence clients, we will likely suggest waiving hearing so they can avoid a hard suspension, where they are ineligible for a business personally license for a period of potentially 60 and/or 90 days. This new statute will permit those charged of driving under the influence to have their business purposes only license within 10 days of their arrest. This was practically unheard of under the old statute.  For additional information, please check out the Florida DHSMV’s website, we have provided a link here.

If you or someone you know is been charged with driving under the influence, contact the Tampa DUI defense attorneys of Hackworth Law for free consultation. We’ve handled many of these cases and are more than happy in able to assist you during this very difficult, confusing time. We appreciate your time and look forward to working with you in the future.