Getting arrested for a DUI can be an overwhelming experience, especially if it is a first-offense. However, the actions you take during the first 10 days after a West Palm Beach DUI arrest can affect the trajectory and potentially the eventual outcome of your case. That is why it is vital that you reach out to a well-versed DUI attorney who has handled DUI cases before and will know how to advocate on your behalf and help you understand what to expect immediately following a West Palm Beach DUI arrest.
Important Steps to Take
The ten-day rule is important because, in addition to being arrested and charged with a DUI, the Government is going to most likely be taking action against the person’s driver’s license. In the State of Florida, in addition to being arrested, charged, and prosecuted for DUI, the Department of Motor Vehicles, upon the arrest, has the right to suspend the person’s driver’s license. Before the person goes to court, before they have a trial, before they see the police report, the DMV has the right to suspend the person’s driver’s license for either taking a breath test and failing it or refusing to take a breath test.
In this Country, everyone has due process rights. It means that the government cannot do anything to a person without giving them notice and then an opportunity to be heard. In Florida, when a person gets a DUI citation and answers their notice, they actually take the person’s driver’s license and give them a citation that says: “Effective immediately, your license has been suspended for either failing a breath test or refusing to take a breath test, and you have 10 days to challenge that suspension.”
So, the important step to take during the 10 days after a West Palm Beach DUI arrest is to contact an attorney to determine if and how they can challenge the government’s attempt to suspend the person’s driver’s license pending the outcome of the DUI case.
Formal and Informal Review Hearings
In Florida, there are two different hearings: the formal review hearing and the informal review hearing. A formal hearing is where an attorney subpoenas all the witnesses to appear at a driver’s license office and testify under oath as to why they arrested the person, and whether or not they took a breath test, and what the breath test results were, or whether or not the person refused, and whether or not they were warned if they refused that they would lose their driver’s license. This can also be accomplished without witnesses and with the reports.
But in the first 10 days after a West Palm Beach DUI arrest, an attorney will evaluate what has been submitted to the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles, Bureau of Administrative Reviews to decide how to proceed, whether to use live testimony or whether or not there is a mistake in the paperwork that may be worth a challenge without any witnesses being present.
In Florida, there is also a relatively new law that if someone waives their right to challenge the suspension and otherwise has no DUIs the Court may give you a hardship license for the entire time of the suspension.
If a person does not react within the first 10 days after a West Palm Beach DUI arrest, they could be looking at – depending on the facts and circumstances of the case – either 30 or 90 days of no driving whatsoever. If a person has a prior, it can be even as long as 18 months of no driving whatsoever without a hardship license.
Value of an Attorney
In the first 10 days after a West Palm Beach DUI arrest, contacting a lawyer should be one of the first things you do. An experienced West Palm Beach DUI attorney will be able to fully evaluate the circumstances and the facts of the case, prior records, if any, and determine the best possible route and method to have the person’s driver’s license reinstated so that they can get back on the road right away and maintain their livelihood and lifestyle. Contact a lawyer and start building your case today.