Being arrested for a DUI is a stressful experience but losing your license can make a bad situation feel worse. Having a suspended license can make carrying out daily activities and errands exceedingly difficult. An alternative option is challenging a license suspension for a West Palm Beach DUI. It may seem intimidating, but a local DUI attorney can help you challenge your license suspension. A lawyer can answer any questions you have and can advocate for you.
Hearing Process for Challenging License Suspensions
In West Palm Beach, if a person does request a hearing so they can begin challenging a license suspension following a West Palm Beach DUI, they must do so within the first 10 days following the arrest. If the person is otherwise eligible for a permit, the Department of Motor Vehicles will set a hearing within 30 to 45 days. If the person’s license is otherwise valid at the time of the arrest, they will issue a restricted, temporary license to drive pending the outcome of the hearing.
Between the time that the hearing is set and the permit is issued, a West Palm Beach DUI lawyer will gather all the reports available – and witness statements if they are able- so that they can subpoena the appropriate people to the hearing.
The hearing will be set 30 or 45 days from the date of the request, giving an attorney time to subpoena the witnesses. Once they are served, if they are “critical” witnesses, they must appear. If they do not appear, it can be grounds to invalidate the suspension. If they do appear, a hearing is held and their testimony is taken and recorded.
Purpose of the Hearing
The purpose of the hearing, besides challenging a license suspension following a West Palm Beach DUI, is to determine whether or not there was probable cause or reasonable suspicion to arrest the client for DUI and if, in fact, the client was arrested for DUI, whether or not they were asked to give a breath test, if they did, if they blew over the legal limit, and if they refused, whether or not they were warned that they would lose their license if they continued to refuse and if after the warning, whether or not they refused or not.
Along the way, there may be reasons to postpone the hearing. Sometimes, officers are on vacation, or in training, or have other conflicts with other Court hearings or proceedings. If one of the State’s witnesses requests a postponement of the initial hearing, the Department will postpone the case and give the client an additional permit to drive for an additional length of time because they still have not had their day in Court and the opportunity to challenge the suspension.
This can go on for generally up to three months after the period of arrest, but usually, within that time period, the attorney will have the answer as to whether or not a person’s license is going to be suspended or not, administratively, for either failing a breath test or refusing to take one.
Restricted Licenses in West Palm Beach
Within the 10-day period, a person can obtain a restricted license in West Palm Beach by waiving their right to challenging a license suspension following a West Palm Beach DUI altogether.
When someone waives this process, it is called a hardship eligibility review hearing. To be eligible for a hardship license during this period of 10 days following the arrest, a person must enroll in a Court-approved DUI program and they must apply for a hearing at the Department of Motor Vehicles, Bureau of Administrative Reviews, in Lake Worth, Florida.
The person must be present in person, pay $25 for a hearing, show proof that they have enrolled in the DUI school (not necessarily completed) and testify as to the need for the license. The most common reason to need a license is that they could not live their life without it. If someone needs to drive to work, to school, to the doctor, to get groceries, to go to church, to take children to school, those are necessities within the law that entitle a person to have a hardship license.
Restrictions on Hardship Licenses
A hardship license does not only mean a person is only allowed to drive to and from work. It means literally for any daily necessity and it is called necessary driving, and non-luxury driving.
There are things the license holder should not do. For instance, they should not be driving off to the beach, unless a person is a swimming instructor or a lifeguard. A person cannot go to the movies unless they work there or have a business meeting to attend there.
The last example is that they probably should not be going grocery shopping at 11 or 12 at night. But that said, if a person works at night, they have every reason to drive at night because the person is driving within the lawful scope of the Business Purposes Only license.
Obtaining an Identification Card
In Florida, a person cannot have a West Palm Beach or Florida ID card and a Florida license at the same time, so unless the suspension is going to be very lengthy, it may not be necessary. Sometimes, if a client does obtain an ID card, it may delay their eligibility for a Florida license when they would otherwise be eligible because the Department would make the person surrender their ID.
For example, if a person is going to go 30 days with no driving they may not need an ID. If the person is going to go 18 months without driving, they get should get an ID. A person should consult with a West Palm Beach DUI attorney before they apply for a Florida ID because if the person has other forms of identification, whether a passport or some other federal ID, that may suffice for the short period of time.
Value of a Lawyer
Driving is an integral part of many people’s lives which makes having a suspended license difficult. Without a license, many people find themselves unable to do basic things like go to work or buy groceries. In that sense, not having a license goes from being a minor inconvenience to being a major issue. However, challenging a license suspension following a West Palm Beach DUI is an option you can pursue if you have been charged with a DUI. Speak to a qualified DUI attorney who can challenge your suspension, and help you build your DUI case.