Why Choose a Formal Review Hearing?

As a DUI Attorney, one of the most difficult decisions facing my clients is related to the initial suspension of their license related to a DUI arrest.  In Florida, your citation serves as your license for 10 days following your arrest.  Within that time period, a client needs to make a decision as to whether to have a hearing on their suspension or to waive the hearing on their suspension (first time DUI, or apply for a hardship license if there are previous DUIs.

Most of my clients, choose a Formal Review Hearing to contest their suspension, even if it involves a refusal to submit to testing. Attached is an ORDER from Florida’s Bureau of Administrative Review (redacted) from one of our recent victories in a refusal case.  

There are many reasons why my clients choose a Formal Review Hearing:

1.  They do not have to attend the hearing.

2.  The hearings, contrary to popular belief, are winnable with careful preparation (as shown by the Order).

3.   They do not have to sign up for DUI school.

4.   In addition to conflicts in testimony by law enforcement officers, and constitutional grounds, they can win a hearing if the arresting officer or breath technician fails to appear.

5.   The client receives a 42-day permit to drive for business purposes if they are otherwise eligible.

6.    If a subpoena for the hearing needs to be enforced, the 42-day permit can often be extended and a client can continue to drive.

7.    If a client decides to waive the hearing in a refusal case, they are stipulating to an element of a criminal refusal (a prior refusal) if they ever refuse again.

8.    This is an extremely important part of a client’s case, and as an attorney, I very much like having an opportunity to cross-examine the police officers under oath about their conduct as early as possible.

Every case is different, and there are surely times when a waiver or hardship license is in a client’s best interests.  But a formal review is a valuable attorney tool to get an early understanding of a case and develop evidence that can make the difference between a conviction or an acquittal.