Tampa DMV Hearing Lawyers
Skilled Representation for Florida DHSMV Hearings
Following a Tampa DUI arrest, you may request either an informal or a formal hearing with the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV).
An informal hearing will consist of a review of all materials presented by law enforcement and the defendant. There is no need to bring witnesses and no need for the officer to show up. The department must send their decision within 21 days of the temporary license’s expiration. The formal hearing is a more rigorous process. While still held with a department official, it will also include the presentation of witnesses, testimony, and any relevant evidence. During a formal hearing, it is required that the defendant who requested the hearing show up in person. Otherwise, their right to a hearing is waived, and their license will be suspended.
Regardless of whether you decide to have a formal or an informal hearing, the DHSMV hearing will not discuss your criminal guilt. Instead, it will deal with the arrest process. This will include whether the officer had reason to believe you were under the influence and had probable cause to pull you over and make an arrest.
Hearings in a Tampa DUI Case
Even if the DHSMV does not decide to suspend your license, you may still lose driving privileges after your criminal trial if you are convicted. The two are independent issues and do not depend on the findings of one another. However, it often takes months for a defendant’s case to go to trial; what the DMV hearing does is allow you to keep your driving privileges while you wait for the trial to begin.
The following questions may be asked at your hearing:
- Did the subject operate a motor vehicle with a BAC of 0.08% or higher?
- Did the subject refuse to partake in the blood, breath, or urine test after arrest?
- Was the subject told that if they refuse, they would have their license suspended?
- Did the officer have probable cause to pull over the defendant?
If you were to look at a DUI case as a tree, it would have two main branches from which some other smaller branches would stem. These two branches are the DMV hearing and the criminal case. Working with an attorney who is competent in handling both of these matters is crucial. The experienced legal team at Thomas & Paulk, P.A. has experience winning results at the Florida DHSMV. When you work with our firm, you will have the benefit of our qualified team by your side through every part of both branches of your drunk driving case. We’ve successfully handled more than 7,000 cases, so you can trust us to lead your case to the best possible result.
The First Branch: DMV Hearing
While most Tampa drivers are distinctly aware that a DUI arrest may result in criminal charges, they may have less knowledge about the administrative process initiated by the DHSMV. These proceedings may suspend their driver's license based on a failed or refused breath or blood test.
In Florida, a driver has only 10 days after their arrest to request a hearing.
This hearing is the only opportunity for challenging an administrative license suspension in conjunction with a lawful DUI arrest and refusal or failed test. In addition to scheduling your DMV hearing for you, our firm can represent you at your hearing to fight for your driving privileges. This hearing is similar to court proceedings, but it is presided over by a hearing officer who acts as prosecutor and judge. You will be able to present your side of the story along with evidence. An experienced attorney can help you prepare a strong, compelling case.
The Second Branch: Criminal Case
Because driving under the influence is a criminal offense, a person arrested for this crime will face charges in criminal court. A lawyer is vital for this part of a DUI case. The prosecuting attorney may offer you a plea bargain. Your Tampa DUI defense lawyer can review this offer to determine whether it is truly in your best interests or if you will be better off fighting your charges.
Although the arresting officer may have told you that you failed a breath test and field sobriety tests, there are ways your lawyer can challenge the evidence and the officer's testimony against you. A Tampa DUI attorney can help you during every step, even helping you get released after your arrest. With 7,000+ cases handled, Thomas & Paulk can help. We can schedule your hearing and represent you to seek the best possible outcome.
Call (813) 321-7323 today to learn how our Tampa DMV hearing attorneys can help you. We've been fighting for drivers across Florida since 2001.
If you were arrested for DUI in the Tampa area, you need to schedule your hearing. It is important to act quickly in these cases, as the failure to schedule the hearing means that you waive your rights to contest your license suspension and get your license reinstated.
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