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What an Order of License Suspension Means for Florida Drivers


Understanding an Order of License Suspension in Florida

An Order of License Suspension is a legal notice issued by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) to inform a driver that their driving privileges have been temporarily revoked. This can occur due to various reasons, most commonly following a DUI arrest or refusal to submit to a chemical test. Understanding the implications and steps to take following this order is crucial for Florida drivers.

Reasons for License Suspension

There are several reasons why a driver might receive an Order of License Suspension in Florida, including:

  • Driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs: A DUI arrest can trigger an immediate license suspension.
  • Refusal to submit to a breath, blood, or urine test: Refusing a chemical test when requested by law enforcement can lead to an automatic suspension.
  • Accumulating too many points on your driving record: Repeated traffic violations can result in a suspension due to the accumulation of points.
  • Medical reasons deemed by the DHSMV: Certain medical conditions that impair safe driving can also lead to a suspension.

In some cases, the officer may not arrest the driver immediately but instead refer the matter to the State Attorney’s Office for a direct file DUI investigation. This means the case is under review by the State Attorney’s Office, and additional evidence is being gathered before deciding to charge the driver with DUI. Evidence may include:

  • Medical records: Showing a medical blood alcohol concentration reading.
  • FDLE lab reports: After legal blood is taken by the officer at the hospital and sent to the crime lab to determine the blood alcohol concentration.

Once this information is received, the officer might:

  1. Issue a DUI citation that must be received by the Clerk of Court to trigger the criminal case.
  2. Send the information to the DHSMV, which then sends an “Order of License Suspension” to notify the driver of the 6-month or 12-month administrative suspension and their right to demand a formal review hearing to contest the suspension.

What is an Order of License Suspension? An Order of License Suspension is a notice from the DHSMV informing a driver that their driving privileges are temporarily revoked due to reasons such as a DUI arrest or refusal to submit to a chemical test.

When a driver receives an Order of License Suspension signed by David Laliberte, or another Hearing Officer with the Orlando Bureau of Administrative (BAR) Review using form HSMV 78031 (last revised on 03/17), it is essential to understand the next steps.

For cases in Orange County and surrounding areas covered by the Bureau of Administrative Reviews office in Orlando,  FL, the “Order of Suspension” typically states:

This is to notify you that your driving privilege is suspended for [six months or twelve months] effective on ____ for [driving with an unlawful alcohol level, pursuant to section 322.2615 Florida Statute or for refusing to submit to a lawfully requested chemical test of your breath, blood, or urine].

You may request a Formal Review or Informal Review of this suspension at the address listed above [DHSMV Bureau of Administrative Reviews office at 2814 East Orange County Avenue, Orlando, FL 33610-4479, 813-276-5795] within ten calendar days of the date of this order. Your request must be in writing and must include a copy of this order. The request must include a filing fee of $25.00 to schedule the Formal or Informal Review.

If this is your first DUI-related offense and you otherwise qualify, you may waive your right to a review of the suspension and receive a business purposes only license for use during the period your driver license is suspended. A non-refundable filing fee of $25.00 made payable to DHSMV is required for determination of your eligibility for a restricted license.

Upon conclusion of an administrative review, the Hearing Officer will determine by a preponderance of the evidence whether to sustain, amend, or invalidate the suspension. Appeal of the Hearing Officer’s decision may be initiated by filing a Petition for Writ of Certiorari in the Circuit Court within thirty calendar days, as provided in section 322.31, Florida Statutes. Failure to request an administrative review shall result in a waiver of your right to review of this suspension and this suspension order shall become final.

Understanding the full implications of an Order of License Suspension and the steps to contest it is vital. For more details on the formal review process, check out our guide to DUI formal review hearings.

 

Immediate Steps to Take After Receiving an Order of License Suspension

Flashing Police Light

Receiving an Order of License Suspension can be overwhelming. However, taking immediate and informed steps can help mitigate the impact. Here are the crucial actions to consider:

Requesting a Formal Review Hearing

Upon receiving the order, you have the right to request a Formal Review Hearing within ten calendar days. This hearing allows you to contest the suspension. To request a hearing, you must:

  • Submit a written request to the DHSMV
  • Include a copy of the suspension order
  • Pay a non-refundable filing fee of $25.00

Failing to request a hearing within the specified timeframe results in the suspension becoming final. This step is crucial because it provides an opportunity to present evidence and arguments that may overturn the suspension.

What is a Formal Review Hearing? A Formal Review Hearing is a legal proceeding where you can contest the suspension of your driver’s license by presenting evidence and arguments before a hearing officer.

Gathering Evidence and Documentation

To build a strong case for your hearing, you need to gather all relevant evidence and documentation. This may include:

  • Police reports and arrest records
  • Medical records showing blood alcohol concentration
  • FDLE lab reports if blood was taken for analysis
  • Witness statements
  • Maintenance and calibration records for breathalyzers

Your attorney can help you obtain and organize this evidence to ensure that it is presented effectively during the hearing. For more information on the importance of breathalyzer maintenance and calibration, visit our detailed guide.

Understanding the Direct File Process

In some cases, the arresting officer may not make an immediate arrest for DUI but instead refer the matter to the State Attorney’s Office for a “direct file” DUI investigation. This often happens when the officer is waiting for additional evidence, such as:

  • Medical records showing a blood alcohol concentration reading
  • FDLE lab reports after legal blood is taken and analyzed

Once this information is received, the officer may issue a DUI citation or send the information to the DHSMV, which then triggers the issuance of an Order of License Suspension. Understanding this process is essential as it can impact the timeline and strategy for your defense. For more on this, visit our page on the direct file process for DUI cases.

Exploring Your License Options

While your license is suspended, you may still have options to legally drive. If this is your first DUI-related offense, you might be eligible for a hardship license, which allows you to drive for essential purposes such as work or school. To obtain a hardship license, you must:

  • Complete a DUI program
  • Provide proof of enrollment in the program
  • Pay any applicable fees

For a detailed guide on obtaining this type of license, visit our section on getting a BPO hardship license.

Consulting with an Experienced DUI Attorney

Given the complexities involved in contesting a license suspension, consulting with an experienced DUI attorney is highly recommended. An attorney can help you navigate the legal process, gather and present evidence, and represent you at the Formal Review Hearing. They can also advise you on the best strategies to challenge the suspension and explore all available options for maintaining your driving privileges.

For more information on how a DUI attorney can assist you, visit our page on whether you should get a lawyer for a DUI.

Preparing for the Formal Review Hearing

Preparation is key to a successful outcome at the Formal Review Hearing. This involves not only gathering evidence but also understanding the specific issues that will be reviewed, such as:

  • Whether there was probable cause for the DUI arrest
  • Whether the chemical tests were conducted properly
  • Whether the notice of suspension was issued correctly

Your attorney can help you prepare a comprehensive defense strategy that addresses these issues and maximizes your chances of a favorable outcome. For more on what to expect during the hearing, visit our page on DUI Formal Review Hearings.

Understanding the Consequences of Not Contesting the Suspension

If you do not request a Formal Review Hearing within the ten-day window, the suspension will become final, and you will lose the opportunity to contest it. This can have significant consequences, including:

  • Extended period without driving privileges
  • Increased insurance premiums
  • Potential impact on employment

Understanding these consequences underscores the importance of taking immediate action upon receiving an Order of License Suspension. For more on the implications of a DUI on your driving record, visit our page on immediate license suspension after a DUI.

What to Expect During the Formal Review Hearing

The Formal Review Hearing is a critical step in contesting your license suspension. During this hearing, a hearing officer will review the evidence and determine whether to sustain, amend, or invalidate the suspension. Key aspects of the hearing include:

Presenting Your Case

At the hearing, you or your attorney can present arguments and evidence to challenge the suspension. Common defenses include:

  • Improper notice of suspension: If you were not properly notified of the suspension, this could be grounds for invalidating it.
  • Illegal stop or detention: If the initial stop was not based on reasonable suspicion or probable cause, any evidence gathered during the stop may be inadmissible in court.
  • Lack of probable cause for arrest: If there was no probable cause to believe you were under the influence, the arrest and subsequent suspension could be challenged.
  • Improperly conducted field sobriety tests: Field sobriety tests must be conducted according to specific protocols. Any deviation could undermine the validity of the results.
  • Errors in chemical testing procedures: Breathalyzers and other chemical tests are not infallible. Factors such as improper calibration, maintenance issues, and operator error can lead to inaccurate results.

After reviewing the evidence, the hearing officer will make a decision based on the preponderance of the evidence.

Understanding the Evidence Reviewed

The hearing officer will review various types of evidence to make a decision. This may include:

  • Police reports and arrest records
  • Medical records showing blood alcohol concentration
  • FDLE lab reports if blood was taken for analysis
  • Witness statements
  • Maintenance and calibration records for breathalyzers

It is crucial to ensure that all evidence is properly documented and presented. Any discrepancies or errors in the evidence can be used to challenge the suspension.

Subpoenaing Witnesses

Your attorney can help you obtain and serve a subpoena for each witness named in the packet submitted by law enforcement. This can include:

  • The arresting officer
  • The breathalyzer operator
  • Any witnesses to the alleged DUI

Having these witnesses testify can provide additional context and potentially highlight inconsistencies in the prosecution’s case.

Potential Outcomes of the Hearing

The hearing officer will decide based on the evidence presented. The possible outcomes include:

  • Sustaining the suspension: The suspension remains in effect for the specified period.
  • Amending the suspension: The terms or duration of the suspension may be altered.
  • Invalidating the suspension: The suspension is lifted, and your driving privileges are restored.

If the suspension is sustained, you may have other options to consider. For more information on these options, visit our page on hardship licenses vs. fighting the suspension.

What is a Formal Review Hearing? A Formal Review Hearing is a legal proceeding where you can contest the suspension of your driver’s license by presenting evidence and arguments before a hearing officer.

Preparing for the Hearing

Preparation is key to a successful outcome at the Formal Review Hearing. This involves not only gathering evidence but also understanding the specific issues that will be reviewed, such as:

  • Whether there was probable cause for the DUI arrest
  • Whether the chemical tests were conducted properly
  • Whether the notice of suspension was issued correctly

Your attorney can help you prepare a comprehensive defense strategy that addresses these issues and maximizes your chances of a favorable outcome. For more on what to expect during the hearing, visit our page on DUI Formal Review Hearings.

Appealing the Hearing Officer’s Decision

If the hearing officer’s decision is not in your favor, you may have the option to appeal. According to Section 322.31, Florida Statutes, you can file a Petition for Writ of Certiorari in the Circuit Court within thirty calendar days of the decision. This appeal process allows for a judicial review of the hearing officer’s decision.

Understanding the appeal process and the grounds on which you can appeal is crucial. For more information on this process, visit our page on DHSMV hearings.

The Formal Review Hearing is a pivotal moment in contesting your license suspension. With the right preparation and legal representation, you can effectively challenge the suspension and aim for a favorable outcome.

Consequences and Next Steps if the Suspension is Upheld

When the hearing officer decides to uphold the suspension, it’s crucial to understand the immediate consequences and explore your options for moving forward. Here are the key considerations you need to be aware of:

Obtaining a Hardship License

If this is your first DUI-related offense, you might be eligible for a hardship license. A hardship license allows you to drive for essential purposes such as work, school, or medical appointments. To obtain a hardship license, follow these steps:

  • Complete a DUI program: You must enroll and complete a state-approved DUI program.
  • Provide proof of enrollment: You will need to show proof of your enrollment in the DUI program to the DHSMV.
  • Pay applicable fees: There are fees associated with obtaining a hardship license, which must be paid in full.

For more detailed information on the process, visit our page on getting a BPO hardship license.

What is a Hardship License? A hardship license is a restricted license that allows individuals to drive for essential purposes such as work, school, or medical appointments after their regular license has been suspended.

Understanding the Financial Impact

Beyond the inconvenience of not being able to drive freely, a license suspension can have significant financial implications. These may include:

  • Fines and Fees: You will be required to pay fines related to the DUI offense and fees for the DUI program and hardship license.
  • Increased Insurance Rates: Your car insurance rates are likely to increase, sometimes substantially. For more details, check out our page on insurance rates after a DUI.
  • Legal Costs: Hiring an attorney to help you navigate the complexities of your case can be an additional expense, but it is often a worthwhile investment to protect your future.

If the suspension is upheld, you still have other legal remedies to explore. For instance, you can file a Petition for Writ of Certiorari in the Circuit Court within thirty calendar days to appeal the decision. This process allows for a judicial review of the hearing officer’s decision. Understanding and navigating these legal options can be complex, so having an experienced attorney by your side is crucial. For more information, visit our page on DHSMV hearings.

Complying with the Suspension Terms

During the suspension period, it’s essential to comply with all terms and conditions to avoid further penalties. These may include:

  • Abstaining from Driving: Unless you have a hardship license, you must refrain from driving until your regular license is reinstated.
  • Completing Required Programs: Ensure you complete any court-ordered programs or community service.
  • Maintaining Good Behavior: Any additional traffic violations or criminal offenses can result in more severe penalties.

Reinstating Your License

Once the suspension period is over, you will need to take steps to reinstate your license. This process typically involves:

  • Paying a Reinstatement Fee: You will need to pay a fee to the DHSMV to reinstate your license.
  • Providing Proof of Completion: You must provide proof that you completed any required DUI programs.
  • Passing a Driving Test: In some cases, you may need to pass a driving test to regain your full driving privileges.

For more detailed information on reinstating your license, visit our page on reinstating your license after a DUI.

Long-Term Consequences

A DUI conviction and the resulting license suspension can have long-term consequences that go beyond the immediate legal and financial impacts. These may include:

  • Employment Challenges: Some employers may be hesitant to hire someone with a DUI on their record, especially if the job requires driving.
  • Professional Licensing Issues: Certain professions, such as healthcare and commercial driving, have strict licensing requirements that a DUI can jeopardize.
  • Personal and Social Stigma: A DUI conviction can affect your reputation and relationships, causing stress and embarrassment.

Understanding these long-term implications can help you make informed decisions about your case and future. For more insights, check out our page on Florida DUI penalties.

Dealing with an Order of License Suspension can be overwhelming, but you don’t have to face it alone. At Leppard Law, we specialize in DUI defense and can help you navigate the complexities of your case. Contact us today at 407-476-4111 to discuss your options and take the first step towards regaining your driving privileges.

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For more information on DUI-related topics, visit our comprehensive Florida DUI Licensing Guide.

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What an Order of License Suspension Means for Florida Drivers

What is an Order of License Suspension in Florida?

An Order of License Suspension is a legal notice from the Florida DHSMV that temporarily revokes a driver’s license. This can happen due to reasons like DUI arrests, refusal to submit to chemical tests, or accumulating too many points on your driving record.

How can I contest an Order of License Suspension?

To contest an Order of License Suspension, you must request a Formal Review Hearing within ten calendar days of receiving the order. This involves submitting a written request to the DHSMV, including a copy of the suspension order, and paying a non-refundable filing fee of $25.00.

What happens if my license suspension is upheld?

If your license suspension is upheld, you may face several consequences including fines, increased insurance rates, and the need to complete a DUI program. You might also be eligible for a hardship license, which allows you to drive for essential purposes like work or school. For more details, visit our page on getting a BPO hardship license.

Can I drive after receiving an Order of License Suspension?

Driving after receiving an Order of License Suspension is generally prohibited unless you obtain a hardship license. Driving without a valid license can result in further legal penalties. For more information on your driving options, visit our page on driving after a DUI in Florida.

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Explore additional areas we specialize in to find the legal assistance you need:

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