Upon request, the Bureau of Administrative Review (BAR) will schedule a license suspension review hearing. This hearing is usually scheduled to occur within 30 days of the request. The hearing will take place at either the local BAR office located at 4585 140th Avenue North, Suite 1002 in Clearwater, or the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) office.
At the hearing, the hearing officer will examine the evidence to establish whether the Clearwater Police, Pinellas County Sheriff or Florida Highway Patrol officers had probable cause to arrest the driver for a DUI. The hearing officer will also review the evidence to establish whether the police issued a lawful breath test and whether the breath alcohol level was 0.08 or higher. If the driver refused to take the breath test, the hearing officer will examine whether the refusal was lawful.
The review hearing can either be formal or informal. An informal review entails the hearing officer to make a decision based solely upon the presented paperwork. This type of review hearing is not recommended. At an informal hearing, the hearing officer does not have an opportunity to listen to testimony regarding the arrest or any legal arguments. Rather a formal review hearing is best.
The formal review hearing allows the DUI arrestee to call witnesses with relevant information pertaining to the case, as well as make defensive legal arguments. This can be helpful for both the license suspension review hearing and the criminal case. Witnesses can be subpoenaed to appear at the hearing using a pre-hearing statement form. These witnesses will provide sworn testimony regarding the incident. The arrestee will have an opportunity to question these witnesses to gather information that can be beneficial to the criminal case.
Once the hearing officer examines all of the evidence, he will issue a final order within 7 business days of the hearing. If the license suspension is invalidated, the driver can receive a duplicate license through the DHSMV for a fee. If the license suspension is upheld, the driver will lose ALL driving privileges during the hard time suspension. The hard time suspension lasts 30 days in breath test cases and 90 days for refusal cases. During this time period, the DHSMVwill not issue a hardship license.
The license suspension review hearing is important, not only to the livelihood of the DUI arrestee, but also to the defense of the DUI criminal case against the arrestee. This important step necessitates the use of skilled and experienced attorneys. Don’t wait until it is too late. Call Finebloom and Haenel today at 727-222-3610, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.