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DUI » DMV » About DHSMV Hearings

Tampa DHSMV Hearing Lawyer

Understanding DHSMV Hearings

There are several key factors to understand in regard to formal review hearings with the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV), often called DMV hearings. These hearings are held to give a driver who has been arrested for driving under the influence the opportunity to challenge the automatic suspension of his or her driver's license as a result of a failed or refused breath or blood test. When a driver is arrested for DUI, the arresting officer will confiscate his or her driver's license and provide the driver with a temporary permit that will expire in 10 days. Before the temporary permit expires, the driver must contact the DHSMV and schedule a hearing to challenge the suspension of his or her license. A driver who fails to request a hearing within the 10-day time period after his or her arrest will lose the right to challenge license suspension.

There are two parts to the DHSMV hearing, and our firm can help you with both of these. The first is an informal hearing, which is conducted by a DHSMV employee who will review information supplied by the driver and by law enforcement. The second is a formal review hearing. If a driver requests a formal hearing, the DHSMV must schedule it within 30 days of receiving the request. The formal hearing is held before a hearing officer employed by the DHSMV. The hearing officer will hear all the evidence, examine witnesses, take testimony, oversee the hearing and make a ruling regarding whether to uphold or cancel the suspension of the driver's license.

Key Factors Addressed in a Formal Hearing

There are several key factors that will be analyzed by the hearing officer. If the hearing involves a license suspended for the reason of an unlawful blood alcohol concentration (of 0.08 percent or greater), the hearing officer will look to determine:

  • Whether the officer had probable cause to believe that the driver was driving under the influence.
  • Whether the driver had an unlawful blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent or greater.

If the hearing involves a license suspended because the driver refused a breath or blood test, it will determine:

  • Whether the officer had probable cause to believe that the driver was driving under the influence.
  • Whether the driver refused to submit to a breath/blood test after the officer requested him or her to do so.
  • Whether the driver was informed of the consequences of refusing a breath/blood test.

Having an attorney to represent you at your DHSMV hearing may make all the difference in its outcome. You can feel confident that your legal rights will be protected and that your side of the story will be upheld in a logical manner, while following proper procedure. By fully preparing your case for your hearing, your lawyer will even get a head start on preparing your criminal court case.

Contact a Tampa DHSMV hearing lawyer at our firm today to talk about your options in requesting – and winning – a formal review hearing.

Tampa DUI Defense Attorney Thomas & Paulk, P.A. Attorneys at Law
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