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Your Guide to Administrative Suspension Review Hearings in Florida



Understanding Administrative Suspension Review Hearings in Florida

Administrative suspension review hearings in Florida are critical for individuals facing a DUI charge. These hearings are governed by Chapter 15A-6 of the Florida Administrative Code and are conducted by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV). The primary purpose of these hearings is to review the suspension or disqualification of a person’s driving privilege.

Purpose and Scope of Chapter 15A-6

Chapter 15A-6 outlines the procedures and standards for administrative suspension review hearings. It includes definitions, the process for filing requests, computation of time, and notice requirements. Understanding these elements is essential for navigating the administrative review process successfully.

What is the purpose of Chapter 15A-6? The purpose of Chapter 15A-6 is to set forth the standards for proceedings relating to the review of a suspension or disqualification of a person’s driving privilege pursuant to Sections 322.2615, 322.2616 or 322.64, F.S.

Here are some key components of Chapter 15A-6:

  • Definitions: This section provides clarity on terms such as “Clerk,” “Hearing Officer,” “Division,” “Formal Review,” and “Informal Review.” For instance, a Formal Review is an evidentiary hearing requested by the driver or their attorney, while an Informal Review is based solely on submitted materials without the presence of the driver or witnesses.
  • Filing: Rule 15A-6.003 details the requirements for filing documents, including the necessary information such as the driver’s name, address, license number, and the date of suspension. Documents must be filed during normal business hours, and any received after 6:00 p.m. will be filed the next business day.
  • Computation of Time: This rule explains how to calculate any period of time required by the rules, orders, or applicable statutes. It excludes weekends, legal holidays, and days when the division office is closed.
  • Notice of Suspension/Disqualification: This section outlines what must be included in the notice given to the driver, including the suspension or disqualification details, the issuance of a temporary driving permit, and the driver’s right to request a formal or informal review.

For example, if your blood-alcohol level is .08 or higher, or if you refuse to submit to a breath, urine, or blood test, you will receive a notice of suspension. This notice will inform you of your right to request a formal or informal review, the procedures to follow, and the issues that will be considered during the review.

Understanding the purpose and scope of Chapter 15A-6 is crucial for anyone facing a DUI-related suspension in Florida. This knowledge can help you navigate the administrative review process more effectively and potentially contest the suspension of your driving privileges.

For more detailed information on related topics, you might find it helpful to explore our guide to DUI formal review hearings and learn about the steps to obtain a BPO hardship license after a DUI arrest.

Filing and Requesting a Review

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The process of filing and requesting a review is a crucial step in contesting a DUI-related suspension. According to Rule 15A-6.003, filing must be done during normal business hours, and specific information must be included in the documents. Requests for review must be submitted within ten days of the notice of suspension.

Details Required for Filing

When filing a request for review, ensure that the documents contain the driver’s name, address, license number, and the date of suspension. Additionally, a copy of the notice of suspension must be included. This meticulous attention to detail can significantly impact the outcome of the review.

Steps for Filing a Request for Review

Filing a request for review involves several important steps:

  1. Gather Necessary Information: Collect all required details such as the driver’s name, address, license number, and the date of suspension.
  2. Include Notice of Suspension: Ensure that a copy of the notice of suspension is attached to your request.
  3. Submit Within Ten Days: File your request within ten days of receiving the notice of suspension to comply with the 10-day rule for DUI in Florida.
  4. File During Business Hours: Submit your request during normal business hours to ensure it is processed promptly.
  5. Verify Submission: Confirm that your request has been received and filed correctly.

What is the 10-day rule for DUI in Florida? The 10-day rule for DUI in Florida requires that requests for review of a license suspension be submitted within ten days of receiving the notice of suspension.

Importance of Timely Filing

Timely filing is essential for a successful review process. Missing the ten-day window can result in the automatic finalization of your suspension. This rule emphasizes the importance of acting quickly and efficiently.

Additionally, filing within the prescribed time frame allows you to request a temporary driving permit, which can be crucial for maintaining your daily activities while awaiting the review. The temporary permit is valid for ten days from the date of issuance of the notice of suspension, provided that the driver is otherwise eligible to drive.

Understanding the Review Request Forms

To initiate a formal or informal review, you may use HSMV Form 78065. This form requires specific information, including:

  • Driver’s Name and Address: Ensure accurate personal details.
  • Driver License Number: Include your license number for identification.
  • Date of Birth: Provide your date of birth as requested.
  • Date of Suspension: State the date your suspension began.
  • County of Suspension: Mention the county where you received the notice of suspension.
  • Copy of Notice: Attach a copy of the notice of suspension/disqualification.

For more information on the process, you can refer to the Orlando Bureau of Administrative Review guide for detailed instructions and insights.

Formal vs. Informal Review Requests

Deciding between a formal and informal review is another critical step. A formal review involves an evidentiary hearing where you can present evidence and cross-examine witnesses. This type of review provides a comprehensive opportunity to contest the suspension. On the other hand, an informal review is conducted without your presence and is based solely on the submitted materials. It is quicker and less complex but may not offer the same level of scrutiny.

Choosing between a formal and informal review depends on the specifics of your case and the evidence available. A formal review allows for a more thorough examination, while an informal review is faster and less involved.

Understanding the nuances of these review types can help you make an informed decision. For more insights on the differences and what might be best for your situation, explore our guide to DUI formal review hearings in Florida.

Remember, the attorneys at Leppard Law are experienced in navigating these complexities and can provide the guidance you need to effectively contest your administrative suspension. For more details on related topics, check out our steps to obtain a BPO hardship license after a DUI arrest.

The Hearing Process: Formal and Informal Reviews

Administrative suspension review hearings can be either formal or informal. A formal review involves an evidentiary hearing where the driver can present evidence and cross-examine witnesses. An informal review, on the other hand, is conducted without the presence of the driver or witnesses and is based solely on the submitted materials.

Key Differences Between Formal and Informal Reviews

Formal reviews offer a more comprehensive opportunity to contest the suspension, including the introduction of evidence and witness testimony. Informal reviews are quicker and less complex but may not provide the same level of scrutiny. Choosing the right type of review depends on the specifics of the case and the evidence available.

What is a formal review? A formal review is an evidentiary hearing where the driver can present evidence and cross-examine witnesses to contest a suspension.

During a formal review hearing, the driver or their attorney can introduce various types of evidence, such as:

  • Witness Testimony: Testimonies from witnesses who can provide relevant information about the incident.
  • Documentary Evidence: Documents that support the driver’s case, such as maintenance records for a breathalyzer.
  • Expert Testimony: Experts who can challenge the validity of the evidence presented by the prosecution.

Formal reviews are governed by specific rules outlined in Chapter 15A-6.013 of the Florida Administrative Code. These rules ensure that the review process is thorough and fair, allowing the driver to fully contest the suspension.

In contrast, informal reviews are conducted without the presence of the driver or any witnesses. The hearing officer examines the materials submitted by both the driver and the officer, making a decision based on the preponderance of the evidence. This type of review is outlined in Chapter 15A-6.018 of the Florida Administrative Code.

What is an informal review? An informal review is a hearing conducted without the presence of the driver or witnesses, relying solely on submitted materials.

While informal reviews are less complex and quicker, they may not provide the same level of scrutiny as formal reviews. Drivers opting for an informal review should ensure that all relevant materials are thoroughly prepared and submitted.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Between Formal and Informal Reviews

Choosing between a formal and informal review depends on several factors, including:

  • Availability of Evidence: If you have strong evidence and witness testimony, a formal review may be more advantageous.
  • Time Constraints: Informal reviews are quicker and may be suitable if you need a faster resolution.
  • Complexity of the Case: More complex cases with multiple issues may benefit from the comprehensive nature of a formal review.

Understanding the nuances of each type of review is crucial for making an informed decision. Consulting with an experienced DUI attorney can help you determine the best course of action based on your specific circumstances. For more detailed guidance, you can refer to our step-by-step guide to DHSMV hearings.

It’s important to note that both formal and informal reviews are part of the administrative process conducted by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV). The rules and procedures for these reviews are designed to ensure that drivers have a fair opportunity to contest their suspensions.

Whether you choose a formal or informal review, having a knowledgeable attorney by your side can significantly impact the outcome. At Leppard Law, our team of experienced DUI lawyers is dedicated to helping you navigate the complexities of DUI licensing issues and achieve the best possible result. Contact us today at 407-476-4111 for a consultation.


Outcome and Judicial Review

After the administrative suspension review hearing, the hearing officer will issue a final order. This final order will determine whether the suspension is upheld or invalidated. If you find yourself on the losing end, don’t lose hope just yet. You have the right to seek judicial review by filing a petition for writ of certiorari with the circuit court. This step is crucial for those who believe that the administrative decision was unjust and want another chance to contest the ruling.

Steps for Judicial Review

Judicial review is a more formal process that involves a higher level of legal scrutiny. Here’s a breakdown of the steps involved:

  1. Filing the Petition: To initiate judicial review, you must file a petition for writ of certiorari with the circuit court within 30 days of the final order from the administrative hearing. This petition should outline the reasons why you believe the administrative decision was incorrect.
  2. Legal Grounds: The petition must be based on specific legal grounds, such as errors in the application of the law, procedural errors, or a lack of substantial evidence to support the administrative decision.
  3. Documentation: Include all relevant documents, such as the final order from the administrative hearing, transcripts of the hearing, and any other evidence that supports your case.
  4. Legal Representation: It’s highly advisable to have an experienced attorney represent you during this process. The complexities of judicial review require a deep understanding of legal procedures and standards.

What is judicial review? Judicial review is a legal process where a higher court reviews the decision of a lower court or administrative agency to ensure it was made correctly and fairly.

Judicial review can potentially overturn the administrative decision, but it is not a de novo appeal. This means the court will not re-hear the case from scratch but will review the record to determine if there were any legal errors. The court’s decision will be based on whether the administrative decision was supported by competent substantial evidence and whether the correct legal standards were applied.

Possible Outcomes of Judicial Review

Once the petition for judicial review is filed, the circuit court will examine the case and issue a ruling. The possible outcomes include:

  • Affirming the Suspension: The court may agree with the administrative decision and uphold the suspension.
  • Reversing the Suspension: The court may find that the administrative decision was incorrect and reverse the suspension, thereby reinstating your driving privileges.
  • Remanding the Case: The court may send the case back to the administrative agency for further proceedings, often with specific instructions on how to correct any errors.

Understanding the intricacies of judicial review is essential for effectively challenging a suspension. For more detailed guidance on this process, refer to our comprehensive step-by-step guide to DHSMV hearings.

It’s important to note that judicial review is not the only option available. Depending on your situation, you may also explore other avenues, such as requesting a BPO hardship license to regain limited driving privileges while your case is being resolved.

Having an experienced attorney by your side can significantly impact the outcome of both the administrative hearing and the judicial review. At Leppard Law, our team of seasoned DUI lawyers is dedicated to helping you navigate the complexities of DUI licensing issues and achieve the best possible result. We understand the stakes involved and are committed to providing personalized, compassionate legal representation.

If you believe that your administrative suspension was unjust, don’t hesitate to seek legal advice. Contact us today at 407-476-4111 for a consultation.

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What is an administrative suspension review hearing in Florida?

An administrative suspension review hearing in Florida is a process where the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) reviews the suspension or disqualification of a person’s driving privilege. These hearings are conducted under Chapter 15A-6 of the Florida Administrative Code.

How do I request an administrative suspension review hearing?

To request an administrative suspension review hearing, you must file a written request with the DHSMV within ten days of receiving the notice of suspension. The request should include your name, address, driver’s license number, and a copy of the notice of suspension. Detailed instructions can be found in Rule 15A-6.006 of the Florida Administrative Code.

What is the difference between a formal and informal review?

A formal review is an evidentiary hearing where the driver can present evidence and cross-examine witnesses. An informal review, on the other hand, is conducted without the presence of the driver or witnesses and is based solely on the submitted materials. The choice between a formal and informal review depends on the specifics of your case and the evidence available.

What happens if I miss my administrative suspension review hearing?

If you miss your administrative suspension review hearing, the review will be waived, and the suspension will become final. However, you may submit a written statement within two days of the hearing to show just cause for your absence. If just cause is shown, the hearing may be continued. This rule is outlined in Rule 15A-6.015 of the Florida Administrative Code.

Need more detailed guidance on administrative suspension review hearings? Check out our step-by-step guide to DHSMV hearings or contact us at 407-476-4111 for a consultation.

For further information on related topics, explore our resources on getting a BPO hardship license and license options after a DUI.


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Legally reviewed by Joe Easton and the content team, this article reflects the firm’s 60 years of combined criminal defense expertise. Joe Easton, with his extensive experience and strategic prowess in DUI and criminal defense, offers more than just legal representation; he brings a commitment to turning legal challenges into triumphs. His approach, combining tenacity in the courtroom with personalized client care, ensures your administrative suspension review hearing is not just defended but championed with dedication and expertise.

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