Administrative Suspension for DUI

Under Florida Statute 322.2615, your driver’s license can be subjected to an immediate administrative suspension after a DUI arrest if either:

  • your blood-alcohol level or breath-alcohol level is 0.08 or higher; or
  • you refused to submit to a lawfully requested breath, blood, or urine test after being advised of the implied consent warning.

Any person arrested for DUI in Tampa or Hillsborough County will be taken to Central Breath Testing (CBT) where breath-alcohol tests are administered. Several Intoxilyzer 8000 machines are maintained at the CBT Unit located at the Hillsborough County Orient Road Jail.

In some cases, after an arrest in Hillsborough County, a breath-alcohol test might be administered in a mobile facility called a BAT. The BAT mobile unit is often used during checkpoints and saturation patrols where more arrests are expected near a single location.

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Attorneys for the DUI Administrative Suspension in Tampa, FL

After the administrative suspension takes effect (usually on the day of the arrest), the driver only has ten (10) days to demand the formal review hearing. You can hire a DUI defense attorney to demand a formal review hearing with the Bureau of Administrative Review (BAR) of the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) in Tampa, FL.

The formal review hearing to contest the administrative suspension after a DUI arrest is governed by the administrative rules found in Chapter 15A-6, F.A.C. Under these rules, you have the right to be represented by an attorney if you can afford to hire one and the right to confront and cross-examine the arresting officer, breath test operator, and other witnesses in the case.

FAC Rule 15A-6.013(5) affords the driver seeking review “the right to present evidence relevant to the issues, to cross-examine opposing witnesses, to impeach any witness, and to rebut the evidence presented against the driver.” Fla. Admin. Code R. 15A-6.013(5).

The dashcam or bodycam video is critical in these cases. In Wiggins. v. Dept of Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles, the court found that “a circuit court applies the correct law by rejecting officer testimony as being competent, substantial evidence when that testimony is contrary to and refuted by objective real-time video evidence.” 209 So. 3d 1165, 1175 (Fla. 2017).

If the arresting officer or breath tech operator fails to appear in response to a properly served subpoena, then the suspension shall be invalidated. If another witness fails to appear, you have the option to seek enforcement of the subpoena in the trial court.

Contact a DUI defense attorney at the Sammis Law Firm in Tampa, FL, to discuss ways to fight your administrative suspension.

Call (813) 250-0500.

Bureau of Administrative Review (BAR)

The Bureau of Administrative Reviews (BAR) is made up of senior clerks, field hearing officers, field supervisors, program managers, support staff, and regulatory program specialists.

The Bureau is divided into three regions: Region I, Region II, and Region III. Each region is comprised of a number of permanent offices. Some regions also contain satellite offices that are staffed on various days and hours. The Tampa and Clearwater offices are included within Region II.

The primary responsibility of the BAR is to conduct administrative hearings, review hearings, and investigations for driver license issues, along with business license revocation hearings.

Hearing Officers Working at the BAR Office

A hearing officer working for the Bureau of Administrative Reviews (BAR) Office conducts hearings as assigned and may attend to the administrative functions, including filing, customer interaction, and scheduling, along with any additional assigned tasks.

To this end, the following list details some of the actions a hearing officer may be required to undertake:

  1. using computers to research case history and provide accurate information;
  2. conduct administrative reviews and hearings in accordance with applicable statutes, rules, and procedures;
  3. document and justify decisions for possible review by the courts;
  4. prepare disposition orders, reports, and correspondence;
  5. update driver records using the correct codes by the end of the business day;
  6. make sure all hearings and reviews are completed within required time guidelines, digital recording devices are operable daily, and all necessary reports are completed and submitted as required;
  7. comply with filing and recordkeeping requirements set for by the Bureau of Administrative Reviews;
  8. review, stay familiar with, and utilize all current reference material, including but not limited to bulletins, statutes, rules, and manuals;
  9. conduct all assigned investigations in accordance with current procedures;
  10. report any unusual occurrences to their supervisor as soon as possible; and
  11. maintain any state equipment assigned for their use in accordance with current policies.

Forms Used in Florida for the DUI Administrative Suspension

After the DUI arrest, the arresting officer must fill out several documents related to the administrative suspension, including:

  • D.U.I. Driver’s License Administrative Suspension Checklist – The checklist is completed by the arresting officer to show that all required documents have been completed and included in the DUI administrative suspension package. (Form TPD 5).
  • Florida DUI Uniform Traffic Citation – The citation is used exclusively for DUI offenses with an alcohol level of .08 or above or for refusing to submit to breath, blood, or urine tests. The Florida DUI UTC also operates as the notice of the administrative suspension.

  • Criminal Report Affidavit (CRA) – A charging document for criminal violations. (Form SAO 425).
  • CBTU Refusal Affidavit – This form is completed by the Breath Test Operator when a subject refuses to submit to a breath test. The document verifies that a properly operational breath test instrument and Breath Test Operator were available at CBT. The form is retained by CBT. (Form HCSO 5224).
  • Alcohol/Drug Influence Attachment (TPD 312) – This form is used to assist officers in recording data pertaining to all D.U.I. investigations.
  • Breath Test Operator – This form shows that a person is qualified to administer a breath test utilizing an approved instrument according to FDLE standards.
  • Breath Alcohol Test Affidavit – This form shows the breath-alcohol test results and the FDLE certification for the Breath Test Operator. (Form FDLE 38).
  • Breath Alcohol Analysis Report – This form documents the 20-minute observation period and other statistical data. This form confirms that the subject did not take anything orally and did not regurgitate during the observation time. (Form HCSO 5730).
  • Affidavit of Refusal to Submit to Breath, Urine, or Blood Test – The affidavit of refusal is a form that documents the issuance of the “Implied Consent Warning” to the subject who allegedly refuses to submit to chemical tests for alcohol or controlled substances. (Form DHSMV 78054).

Can I Get the Administrative Suspension Invalidated if I’m Found “Not Guilty”?

Many people ask us the following question:

What if I take my case to trial and get a “not guilty” verdict? Can I get the administrative suspension invalidated at that point?

The answer is – it depends. Under Florida Statute 322.2615(16), the “department shall invalidate a suspension for driving with an unlawful blood-alcohol level or breath-alcohol level imposed under this section if the suspended person is found not guilty at trial of an underlying violation of s. 316.193.”

However, if you allegedly refused the breath test, the DHSMV will not invalidate the suspension even after a “not guilty” verdict at trial.

Who is Not Eligible for a Hardship License in Florida

In some cases, you will not be eligible to obtain a hardship license. Those occurrences that make you NOT eligible for a hardship license include a DUBAL or Refusal suspension with two or more DUI convictions §322.271(2)(a).

In those cases, the entire period of suspension will be served as a “hard suspension,” which means you cannot drive during this period for any reason.

When does the DUI not trigger a DHSMV administrative suspension?

Not every allegation of DUI will trigger an administrative suspension. For example, a DUI charge resulting from a BrAC (breath alcohol concentration) or BAC (blood alcohol concentration) of .079 or less, or drugs only when no refusal occurs, does not qualify for a DHSMV Administrative driver license suspension.

If one BrAC or BAC reading is at .08 or above, but the other reading is .079 or below, the officer might submit the paperwork to trigger the administrative suspension. However, the suspension will be invalidated if you demand a formal review hearing and object to the suspension since one reading was below .08.

The hearing officer will set aside or invalidate the administrative suspension if the issue is raised because the packet would show insufficient evidence to believe that the BrAC or BAC was at .08 or above when one result showed that it was below that threshold.

Resources on Florida’s Administrative Suspensions

Florida’s DUI Administrative Suspensions – Visit the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicle (DHSMV) website to learn more about administrative suspension laws. Find information on the administrative suspension of persons under the age of 21 for driving with an alcohol level of .02 or above, administrative disqualification laws, and information on the penalties imposed under Florida Statute Section 322.2615, 316.193, 316.1932.

Finding a DUI Attorney for the Administrative Suspension

If you were arrested for DUI in Hillsborough County, FL, you need an attorney to help you fight the DUI administrative suspension of your driver’s license. Your attorney can demand a formal review hearing with the Bureau of Administrative Review (BAR) office in Tampa, FL, to contest the suspension.

Your attorney can also help you demand a 42-day permit so that you can continue driving while your attorney fights the suspension. Any undue process that creates an undue hardship deprives the Petitioner of meaningful review and denies him the remedy afforded under Florida Statutes § 322.2615(b).

Whether you were issued the notice of suspension on a DUI citation or received an order of license suspension from David Laliberte, Supervisor and Hearing Officer at the Tampa BAR, we can help.

We can protect your rights to due process at these hearings. Contact the attorneys at Sammis Law Firm to discuss ways to protect your driver’s license by demanding a formal review hearing to contest the administrative suspension.

Call (813) 250-0500 today to discuss your case.

This article was last updated on Friday, September 1, 2023.