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Administrative Hearing Versus a Criminal Case

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When a person is arrested for DUI, there are two aspects to the case. The person has the right to fight their driver’s license revocation with the Department of Highway and Safety Motor Vehicles. On the other side, the person who has been arrested and faces criminal charges, the client has the right to contest those criminal charges.

An Administrative Hearing only takes place if the person arrested or the driver requests a hearing within 10 days of the date of the arrest. The hearing officer, who provides over the Department of Highway and Safety Motor Vehicle’s Hearing, is not a lawyer. Witnesses do not appear at the hearing, unless subpoenaed by the driver.

The paperwork submitted by the police officer may be sufficient to sustain the suspension. There’s no prosecutor or lawyer for the Department of Highway and Safety Motor Vehicles involved in the hearing. The Department of Highway and Safety Motor Vehicles only needs to prove the test result of .08 percent or above alcohol level or that the driver refused to submit to the test to sustain the suspension. Ultimate guilt is irrelevant. The ultimate guilt will be contested in the criminal case.

The driver’s presence is not required at the Department of Highway and Safety Motor Vehicle Hearing or even if desirable in most cases. Forms of evidence are relaxed and hearsay is admissable. Hearings must take place within 30 days of the date of the request. So basically within 40 days of the driver’s arrest.

Proof to sustain suspension is by a preponderance of the evidence. Resolution of the matter occurs anywhere from 45 to 180 days from the date of the arrest, meaning the driver will know whether his driver’s license will be suspended or revoked by the Department of Highway and Safety Motor Vehicles within 45 to 180 days. At this hearing, the driver is basically asking the Department of Highway and Safety Motor Vehicles to overturn the suspension. The decision rendered stands regardless of the result of the criminal case, unless it involves a breath test and an acquittal at trial.

In the criminal Case, a judge presides over all hearings. Witnesses must appear to testify at trial. The case is prosecuted by the State of Florida. The prosecution must prove that the defendant was either under the influence or had a breath alcohol level of .08 percent or higher. The defendant’s presence is required at trial, but not at soundings or calendar calls.

The rules of evidence are strictly enforced. While a speedy trial must take place within 90 days, it is rarely applicable. The prosecution must prove guilt beyond and to the exclusion of all reasonable doubt. Case resolution time’s vary widely, from 90 days bare minimum to several months or even years. The average time to resolve a criminal case is usually several months.

Please remember that the Department of Highway and Safety Motor Vehicle’s Administrative Hearing is completely separate from the criminal case in which the defendant has a right to confront all witnesses against him.

How Florida DUI Differs From Other States

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Many individuals in the United States are under the impression that DUI laws are the same across the nation. In actuality, DUI laws can differ from state to state, and not being aware of your legal rights in relation to a DUI charge in Florida can mean the difference between dropped charges or possible jail time. To ensure that you get the best legal representation and someone who is knowledgeable about DUI laws in Florida, it is in your best interests to hire a criminal defense attorney that specializes in DUI arrests.

You should know that while many states do not allow officers to set up sobriety checkpoints, Florida is one state in which it is allowed. However, the checkpoints should be disclosed beforehand in some manner, typically through a local news outlet. Florida also has a zero tolerance policy that is often strictly enforced. As such, it is important to never drink and drive, for your own safety as well as those with you in the car and others on the road.

If you are pulled over for some sort of traffic infraction and then subsequently charged with a DUI, you can face strict penalties. It is also important to note that while the legal limit to drive is a Blood Alcohol Level of less than .08% in your system; you can still be charged with a DUI if the officer feels your behavior is erratic or a danger to others on the road. A charge can lead to two cases as well; you may have a case with the DMV, and a case with a court of law. Criminal defense in Florida by attorneys experienced in DUI cases can help you possibly reduce the charges or even have them dropped. You are making a large mistake if you attempt to represent yourself in a DUI case in the State of Florida.

One such legal agency that has ample experience with DUI cases is the The Law Office of Travis Koon. In addition to helping many individuals that have been charged with a DUI, The Law Office of Travis Koon is also experienced in Bankruptcy in Florida and Personal Injury in Florida. The lawyers at The Law Office of Travis Koon know what to investigate and what questions to ask, so as to ensure the best possible chance of you escaping jail time, a suspension of your driver’s license, and high fines.

Florida is well known for having some of the toughest DUI laws in the country, so your best course of action is to always stay safe and never drink and drive. But if you are unfortunate enough to be charged with driving under the influence, then you should always immediately seek representation.




What type of criminal penalties do you face for a first time DUI Conviction in the State of Florida?

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  1. DUI FIRST TIME CONVICTION FINES: For someone who is convicted of the criminal offense for a DUI and it is their first time being convicted the individual would face a fine not less than $500 or more than $1,000, plus mandatory court costs.  If the individual has a blood or breath alcohol level of .15 or higher or if the accused has someone in the car with them that is under the age of eighteen then they would face a fine ranging from $1,000 to $2,0000, plus mandatory court cost usually ranging from $150 to $600.
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