A DUI arrest in Miami can trigger an automatic administrative driver’s license suspension. The length of the suspension will depend on a few factors, including whether you refused or failed a chemical test. Still, you can request an administrative hearing to contest the driver’s license suspension. Acting quickly is important because you have only a short window to ask for the hearing. Equally important is retaining the services of an attorney who can help guide you through the process and seek to protect your driver’s license.
Schedule a consultation with The Hoffman Firm in Miami by calling us at (305) 928-1669 or contacting us online today.
How Your Driver’s License Can Be Suspended After a DUI Arrest
Driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol is an offense that can lead to repercussions even before your criminal case concludes. In Miami, as in the rest of Florida, if you are arrested for DUI, the arresting officer will direct you to submit to a chemical test to determine your blood alcohol content (BAC).
Under Florida’s implied consent law, drivers are deemed to have given their consent to provide a blood, breath, or urine sample for analysis. If you refuse to participate in any tests, your driver’s license may be suspended. Similarly, you could lose your driving privileges if you submit to a chemical test and the results show that you had a BAC at or above the legal limit of 0.08.
Upon receiving the chemical test results or upon your refusal, the arresting officer will:
- Take your driver’s license card,
- Issue a temporary driver permit valid for 10 days, and
- Give you a notice of suspension.
The Duration of the Administrative Driver’s License Suspension
A driver’s license suspension following a DUI arrest is referred to as an administrative suspension because it results from administrative decisions rather than rulings in a criminal court. The administrative suspension is immediate if you refuse or fail a chemical test.
The amount of time you could lose your driving privileges is as follows:
- First refusal: 1 year
- Second or subsequent refusal: 18 months
- First unlawful BAC: 6 months
- Second or subsequent unlawful BAC: 1 year
Requesting an Administrative Hearing
You have the right to challenge the administrative suspension of your driver’s license. To do so, you must request an informal or formal hearing with Florida’s Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV).
You must make your request within 10 days of receiving the notice of suspension. If you miss the deadline, you lose your right to contest administrative action and will be subject to the loss of driving privileges for the applicable period listed in the previous section.
The Scope of the Administrative Hearing
After your DUI arrest and chemical test refusal or failure, the arresting officer will forward various documents to the FLHSMV.
These documents may include the following:
- Your driver’s license,
- An affidavit stating the officer’s grounds for believing that you were driving under the influence,
- An affidavit concerning your performance on field sobriety tests,
- The chemical test results, and
- The notice of suspension issued to you.
At an informal hearing, a hearing officer will review these documents and any information you submit to determine whether to uphold or reject the suspension of your driver’s license.
A formal hearing is a bit different. In addition to reviewing relevant information provided by you and the arresting officer, the hearing officer will hear testimony from the parties involved and question witnesses.
The informal and formal hearings are separate from the criminal case and are focused on the following issues:
- Whether the arresting officer had probable cause to believe that you were driving under the influence,
- Whether you had a BAC of 0.08 or more or refused a chemical test, and
- If you refused a chemical test, whether the arresting officer informed you that your driver’s license would be suspended for such refusal.
To uphold the suspension of your driver's license, the hearing officer must be convinced of the above by a preponderance of the evidence. Otherwise, they must reject the suspension.
The department must send you notice of the hearing officer’s decision within 21 days if you had an informal hearing or 7 days if you had a formal hearing.
How an Attorney Can Help with Your Case
Getting your driver’s license back after a DUI arrest in Miami can be challenging. You must understand administrative processes and the various factors that can impact a hearing officer’s decision. An experienced lawyer can help by applying their insights to your case and identifying issues with your arrest or actions during the chemical test process.
To speak with our Miami attorney at The Hoffman Firm, please contact us at (305) 928-1669 today.