There are three very good reasons you should have an attorney request a formal review hearing in Okaloosa County after a DUI. If you need driving privileges, read on.
- By requesting the formal review hearing, and if you are otherwise eligible, you can obtain a hardship license (or permit) to drive for business purposes only (BPO). This permit lasts for 42 days during the pendency of the formal review hearing. This also buys you the time you need to enroll in the DUI school and complete that requirement so to ensure that you can regain your hardship driving privileges, immediately after the 30 (or 90) day hard no drive period is completed. This is very important!
- You may win the hearing! Although any honest DUI attorney will tell you that DMV hearings are difficult to win, it does happen–and especially on technical grounds, which your attorney should know. Sometimes the officer will not show up for the hearing after being properly served, or required documents will be missing (like the Affidavit for Breath Test Refusal). You can also win if the officer cannot sufficiently prove that you were in actual physical control of the vehicle at the time of the stop or if the officer cannot present enough evidence to support a determination of probable cause for the arrest. And if you win, the administrative suspension is invalidated!
- Even if you don’t win the hearing, the formal hearing will give your attorney the opportunity to inspect and examine portions of discovery early on in the case. This includes reports, documents, witness statements, Intoxilyzer inspection and calibration records. Additionally, your attorney will have the opportunity to question and cross-examine the officer that handled the DUI stop and arrest. This allows your attorney to help frame your defenses and possible issues to litigate in the criminal case (and prior to the officers consulting with the state prosecutors in order to remedy any of these potential defenses and/or legal issues). This is extremely important if you have an issue with the legality of the stop, or if you are planning to challenge other pieces of evidence (like Breath Testing Results) by filing pre-trial motions—like a Motion to Suppress or Exclude.
In Florida, we do not normally have the right to depose state witnesses in misdemeanor cases. Therefore, the formal review hearing allows us that “deposition” opportunity. This “nails down” that officer’s sworn testimony because the hearings are recorded and the testimony can be transcribed by a court reporter and used at later court proceedings to impeach the witness when they try to fix or change their story. This can be extremely valuable in many DUI cases.
Need help with a DUI in Okaloosa or Walton County? Call me at (850) 362-6655 for a free consultation.