DHSMV & DMV Hearings
If you are arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or other drugs in the state of Florida, the police will confiscate your driver’s license at the time of your arrest. Once you are processed and released, you will be able to use the actual citation that you receive for DUI as a type of temporary license, at which time the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles will suspend your license in response to your arrest and alleged violation of driving laws. What you may not realize is that during the 10 days where you are issued a “temporary license” in the form of this citation, you can request a hearing at the DHSMV in order to appeal this automatic suspension or you can request a business purpose only license.
If you are successful in your hearing, you will be allowed to retain your driving privileges. If you do not request a hearing or are unsuccessful in your hearing, then your license will be suspended by the DMV for the set amount of time that corresponds with your history of DUI charges and convictions. When you hire Attorney Rahul Parikh, you can be confident that you have taken the necessary steps to first increase your chances of keeping your license during the trial, and secondly increasing your chances of a favorable outcome.
Read more below to get some additional information about these hearings, and contact us now to schedule an initial consultation to speak directly with our legal team about your arrest, charges, possible penalties, and how we can help.
Is a DHSMV Hearing a Criminal Hearing?
When you appear for a license hearing with the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles in Florida, this is not to be confused with the criminal trial that you will need to go through in the Florida courts. Instead, this is a hearing where you will be able to appeal the automatic administrative suspension that happens 10 days after you are arrested for DUI. The decision by the DHSMV to suspend your license has nothing to do with the outcome of your criminal case and is instead handled by an employee of the DHSMV.
When you go to the appeal, the arresting officer will also need to be present, and submit the evidence that they gathered when they took a breath, blood, or urine sample in order to determine your BAC. At the same time, it is up to you (or, as is suggested, your attorney) to prove that the officer did not have probable cause for the traffic stop, or that they did not have probable cause to arrest you for DUI, which in turn invalidates their decision to issue a blood alcohol test. There are a variety of other details that your DUI attorney will go through in order to identify what, if any, holes are in the officer’s case, and will use the opportunity to question them without a prosecutor present.
Why Is Your Driver’s License Automatically Suspended After an Arrest?
Although it is just a technicality, your license is not actually suspended because of the DUI arrest. Instead, your license is suspended because you either registered a BAC in excess of .08, or you refused to submit to a breath test in the first place. Refusal to submit to a test results in an automatic suspension because of the “implied consent” that comes with receiving a Florida driver’s license. This implied consent states that by accepting the driver’s license, you willingly agree to submit to a breath test when requested by a law enforcement officer.
This is one reason why the DHSMV hearing is completely separate from your criminal trial. The DHSMV operates as an independent body that issues driving privileges in the state, and they reserve their own right to issue or revoke those privileges.
The Importance of a Hearing
This hearing is important whether or not you are successful in your appeal, for a variety of reasons. The first reason is the obvious chance that you may, in fact, be able to retain your driving privileges instead of having your license suspended, but there are some additional benefits to your case, as well. Primarily, it is an opportunity for your attorney to interview the arresting officer (and, if a different person, the officer who took your blood alcohol sample as well) and get a better idea of the situation at hand.
If you are unsure of your options, your best bet is to work with the team at Parikh Law in order to determine the most appropriate course of action. Since you only have 10 days until your license is suspended, you should act now to make sure that you have adequate time to prepare.