What Is The Administrative Hearing? Why Does The DMV Offer It?
The Administrative Hearing allows you to contest the officer’s perception. If the officer believes you are under the influence, it doesn’t mean you are under the influence. The state allows someone that’s put in that situation to contest it.
If you request an administrative hearing to challenge the right of the officer to demand that you take the test, there is a chance that you might convince the hearing officer that he didn’t have the proper predicate for it. If you win, you wouldn’t be suspended, so, it is a right to challenge that officer’s personal opinion.
How Is The Administrative Hearing Different From The Criminal Side Of The Case?
Initially, if you get cited for DUI and you have a refusal along with that, you’ve got two separate proceedings potentially. One is the Florida Department of Highway Safety & Motor Vehicle’s administrative suspension on your license for the refusal, and the other would be your criminal case of DUI in court.
You are given 10 days from the date that you get the citation to drive on a permit. When those 10 days expire, the hard 90-day suspension kicks in. You have to request the hearing before the administrative agency within those 10 days and that’s done by going to one of their local offices and filling out a request form.
Once that’s done, they will then send you a notice of the hearing date that you’re scheduled for. Generally, the hard suspension is then suspended until after the hearing is held and the hearing officer makes their decision, which can take a month or two. During that time, if they stay the suspension, then you can still drive.
Some people might need more than 10 days to get their affairs in order to be able to accommodate a hard 90-day suspension by securing a driver or getting situated with cabs or other public transportation. That is a benefit that people sometimes may want to take advantage of, even if they are not going to win the hearing. They still get that additional time to get their affairs in order to accommodate the suspension.
If they are lucky enough to prevail with the hearing, then they won’t be suspended at all but they will still have to contest the actual charge in court.
If You Win Or Lose At The DMV Hearing, Does That Affect The Criminal Side Of Your Case?
No, it does not technically. In other words, if you win an administrative hearing, you can’t go to the court and say, “Hey, I already won this. You can’t prosecute me”. You can, however, use that as a negotiating tool with the prosecutor to potentially get the charges down-filed or even dropped.
Another way you can use the administrative hearing is that it’s conducted like a little trial and the witnesses who testify are sworn under oath. Those statements made under oath may be helpful to you in your criminal case. They can be used at the trial in the event the witness testifies to something different at the trial than they testified to at the hearing.
The statements could be introduced to show the inconsistency in an attempt to impeach the witness. Therefore, it can be beneficial to lock the police officer into his story at the Administrative Hearing and not allow him to change it at the court hearing.
Are You Allowed To Have An Attorney Or Public Defender Represent You At The Admin Hearing?
You are allowed to hire a private attorney to represent you in any avenue of the legal arena that you want. The public defender, however, is relegated to being appointed by the court for criminal matters where you stand to lose your freedom. Therefore, you are not entitled to a public defender for an administrative hearing.
How Many Days Does A Person Have To Request The Admin Hearing?
Once you are stopped and arrested for DUI, you get a 10-day permit to drive. At the end of those 10 days, the suspension for a first refusal is 12 months and if it’s a second or subsequent refusal, it’s 18 months. The first 90 days after the 10-day grace period is a hard suspension, meaning you can’t drive and you cannot get a hardship license.
Can Someone Actually Win At The Admin Hearing?
Yes, they can. Attorney Randy Berman has been successful in a number of administrative hearings challenging the probable cause for the stop where his clients were not suspended based on the favorable ruling by the administrative hearing officer.
If you need information regarding the Administrative Hearing In Florida, call the law office of Attorney Randy Berman for a free initial consultation at (561) 866-5717 and get the information and legal answers you’re seeking.