First-Time DUI Offenders Can Waive Formal Review Hearings

Those who have their license suspended following a DUI arrest in Orlando are no longer required to request a formal review hearing. New legislation allows DUI offenders to waive the formal review hearing and apply immediately for a hardship license. Those who face first-time DUI charges and meet certain standards can receive a hardship license on the spot. This is an ideal option for DUI defendants who cannot risk giving up their driving privilege for 30 to 90 days.

On July 1, 2013, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) decided to allow first-time DUI offenders to waive the administrative hearing. After a first-time DUI offense, a person used to have just 10 days to request an administrative hearing, upon which the hearing officer would determine whether the defendant may retain full driving privileges. Now, a person who cannot risk losing the hearing can request to waive it. To do so, he must meet the following requirements:

  • The individual who wishes to waive the hearing must provide proof that he has enrolled in DUI driving school within 10 days of his arrest.
  • He must have no other DUI charges, reckless driving suspensions, or other alcohol-related suspensions on file.
  • He must sign up for a DUI Level I school
  • He must go to the DMV and request the waiver in person, sign and file it within 10 days of his arrest.

Should a defendant choose to request a hearing, he may still seek representation by an Orlando DUI attorney to challenge the license suspension.

Four Notable Changes to Administrative Suspension Hearings

Four significant alterations to the law that establishes the rules for administrative suspensions make it easier for one whose license has been suspended after a first-time DUI to obtain a business purpose-only license.

  1. A person who has had his license suspended following a DUI can now choose to waive their right to a review of their administrative driver’s license suspension. If he is eligible, he can get a hardship driver’s license instantly. This applies to those who took the breath test and those who refused the test.
  2. Hearing officers can conduct formal review hearings by “communications technology” which we may presume to mean by telephone or video conference.
  3. When the arresting officer or breath test operator fails to appear at the Formal Review Hearing, the administrative suspension will be invalidated.
  4. It used to be that an ignition interlock device would not allow a driver to start his vehicle if his BAC reached 0.05. This has been reduced to 0.025.

What If I Request the Hearing and Win?

Those who request the hearing have just 10 days to prepare a strong defense to challenge the administrative suspension. A defendant who wins the hearing can keep his driver’s license with full privileges.

What if I Request the Hearing and Lose?

A person who loses the DHSMV hearing will receive a hard license suspension (meaning the person cannot get a hardship for any reason) under which he cannot drive for any reason at all for a minimum of 30 days if he agreed to take the breath test and a maximum of 90 days if he refused to take the breath test.

What Happens if I Waive the Hearing?

A person who cannot risk going without a valid driver’s license is advised to waive the hearing and apply for an immediate hardship license. First-time DUI offenders may apply for a waiver to obtain a hardship license after enrolling in DUI school within 10 days of the arrest.

A DUI is a serious offense that can follow you for many years, affecting your ability to become employed, find housing, and damaging the personal and professional relationships you enjoy. At The Umansky Law Firm, we deeply believe that every defendant deserves a second chance, which is why we’re available around-the-clock to make that a reality. Our resourceful DUI practice employs a team of Orlando criminal attorneys who work diligently on your defense. We strive to obtain the best results possible for your case. Call (407) 228-3838 or contact us to schedule a free case review.