A DUI in West Palm Beach can result in a snowballing sequence of penalties of which administrative license hearings are just the beginning. You can face strict criminal and administrative penalties, such as the loss of your driver’s license. After a DUI, you have just a few days to request a hearing to fight to keep your driving privileges. This process begins once you are issued a citation called a “Notice of Suspension.” You have just 10 days to request an administrative license suspension hearing upon receiving a Notice of Suspension following your DUI arrest. If you do not act within that time, you will not be eligible to fight the driver’s license suspension portion of your DUI and you will forfeit your privilege to drive by default. Act quickly and speak with a knowledgeable and experienced DUI attorney in West Palm Beach to help you fight for your driver’s license.
Palm Beach License Suspensions
Being charged with DUI in West Palm Beach is an experience you won’t soon forget. Having a blood or breath alcohol level of 0.08% or greater will guarantee your license will be taken away for up to 6 months upon your arrest if you fail to request a hearing. If you refused the blood, breath, or urine test you were required to take after your arrest, your license will be suspended for a full year. If you have previously refused these chemical tests and are facing subsequent DUI charges, your license will be suspended for 18 months for your second refusal of DUI tests. The more severe the penalty, the more you need a strong attorney on your side to fight the suspension. Suspensions are imposed and enforced by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles and are not criminal in nature. In many cases, it is possible to raise questions about the DUI traffic stop as a possible defense.
What is a Legitimate DUI Traffic Stop?
License suspension is just one of the many consequences that can result from a DUI arrest. At the time of the traffic stop, Florida law requires the officer to have probable cause to believe you have committed an infraction. They also need to have reasonable suspicion or hard evidence to believe that you were committing a crime, or that your own or others’ safety was at risk. All this is necessary for a legitimate traffic stop. Without sufficient probable cause, the officer had no right to pull you over in the first place. Your DUI defense attorney will be sure to look into the details of the traffic stop and your arrest when defending your case.
Any traffic violation, whether moving or non-moving, may give way to a DUI investigation. A West Palm Beach police officer may investigate a driver after observing:
- Failure to use turn signals
- Driving solo in the carpool lane
- Failure to wear a seatbelt
- Illegally-tinted windows
- Other traffic violations
If an officer observes any traffic violation and, after interacting with the driver, suspects alcohol or drug impairment, he or she may proceed with field sobriety tests and other forms of testing to determine whether the driver’s faculties are impaired.
How Can the State of Florida Suspend My License?
Your attorney will challenge the Florida DMV’s decision to suspend your license at the administrative hearing. The Florida DMV must prove it has grounds to administratively suspend your driver’s license. In essence, the State must show that you were driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol or refused chemical testing in violation of Florida’s implied consent laws. The State must prove the following factors by a preponderance of evidence or that it is more likely than not that these events occurred.
- The arresting officer had reasonable grounds to believe the suspect was driving or in actual physical control of a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- The arresting officer lawfully arrested the suspect.
- The suspect’s BAC reached or exceeded 0.08% or the suspect violated implied consent laws by refusing to submit to chemical testing.
Your attorney’s goal at the administrative suspension hearing is to prove that the DMV does not have grounds to suspend your license. He or she will strive to protect your driving privilege so that you may continue driving while your criminal case proceeds.
Consequences of License Suspension
You cannot fathom the difficulty of living without your driver’s license until you truly lose it. Driving is a big component of personal independence in South Florida. It is difficult to get around without a personal vehicle, as it is tough to rely on others for rides or on public transportation that is not readily accessible. Without your driver’s license your very commute to the job you depend on to live can be compromised. You can forget about picking up your children to and from school or performing other errands. At this time, it is crucial to team up with an experienced DUI defense attorney in West Palm Beach to fight the license suspension and develop a strong case.
Brian Gabriel focuses on DUI throughout Palm Beach County and is keen on protecting your interests every step of the way. With over 25 years of experience fighting DUI charges throughout Palm Beach County and surrounding areas, he can help you fight your administrative penalties at any time. Contact the Law Office of Gabriel & Gabriel to schedule a free consultation or give us a call at 561-622-5575.