DUI Defense in Manatee County

After your arrest for DUI in Manatee County, FL, you only have ten (10) calendar days to demand a Formal Review Hearing with the Bureau of Administrative Review (BAR) Office if:

  • your breath or blood alcohol concentration was .08 or above; or
  • you refused to submit to a breath, blood, or urine test after a lawful request by a law enforcement officer.

For any arrest in Manatee County, the formal review hearings are conducted at the Bureau of Administrative Review (BAR) office in Clearwater, FL.

If you fail to act within ten (10) days of your drunk driving or DUI arrest in Manatee County, FL, then your driver’s license will be suspended for the following period:

  • at least six (6) months if you blew over the legal limit of .08;
  • twelve (12) months if you allegedly refused to take the breath test; or
  • eighteen (18) months for a second refusal.

That administrative suspension will stay on your driving record for 75 years unless it is invalidated during the formal review hearing. For this reason, it is critical to hire an attorney within ten (10) days to help you fight the administrative suspension.

Others might tell you to waive all your rights by seeking immediate reinstatement for hardship purposes, but call us to find out the pros and cons of that approach.

After the battle over the administrative suspension of your driver’s license, you must also answer the criminal charges against you in court in Bradenton, Manatee County, FL. The DUI lawyer you hire will investigate your case and help you find the best way to fight your DUI charge.

Most DUI arrests in Manatee County are conducted by the DUI enforcement unit of the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office, the Bradenton Police Department, or the Florida Highway Patrol. Local law enforcement agencies have DUI enforcement units that are primarily charged with investigating allegations of drunk and impaired driving.

Officers often have video cameras mounted to the front of their vehicles, capturing the officer’s contact with the person stopped, including the driving pattern, field sobriety exercises, arrest, and the reading of the implied consent warning.

Officers often have video cameras mounted to the front of their vehicles to capture everything during the traffic stop, including the driving pattern, field sobriety exercises, arrest, and reading of implied consent.

Attorney for DUI Defense in Manatee County, FL

The attorneys at Sammis Law Firm can help you fight the administrative suspension with the DHSMV and the criminal case at the courthouse in Bradenton. You need an attorney focused on DUI defense who knows the best ways to fight the charges during each stage of the case.

Any arrest for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI) is serious. If you have been arrested for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol (“DUI”) or drunk driving in Bradenton or Manatee County, FL, contact us to discuss the case.

Call (813) 250-0500 today.

Reasons to Demand a Formal Review Hearing

Within ten days of the DUI arrest, you should retain an attorney to help you demand a formal review hearing. The formal review hearing is the only way to contest the administrative suspension so that it can be invalidated.

If you win the formal review hearing, the administrative suspension will be removed from your driving record, and your driving privileges will be restored.

You will automatically win the hearing if the arresting officer or breath test operator fails to appear at the hearing (although they are permitted to appear telephonically at a duty station) after being properly served with a subpoena.

If you lose the hearing, then your DUI attorney will still have the opportunity to question all of the witnesses under oath, including:

  • the officer that conducted the DUI stop;
  • the officer that made the DUI arrest;
  • any other officers or civilians mentioned in the police reports;
  • the breath test operator; and
  • the agency inspector that maintains the breath test instruments.

That testimony under oath can later be used in your DUI criminal case to show the prosecutor why the charges should be dropped or reduced. If the case proceeds to motion hearings or trial, that transcript can be used to impeach the witnesses if their testimony is different.

The Administrative Review Hearing is perhaps the most important part of your case. The hearing will be held within just 41 days of your arrest. It is important to hire an attorney who will be able to devote the time and attention to your case that is necessary to have the best chance of winning the formal review hearing.

Requesting the Waiver Hearing

After July 1, 2013, you can waive your right to a formal review hearing for a first DUI. In exchange, you can request immediate reinstatement of hardship privileges with a business-purpose-only license.

However, if you seek hardship privileges, you are essentially STIPULATING to the DUI suspension remaining on your driving record for the next 75 years. Demanding the formal review hearing is the only way to get the administrative suspension invalidated and removed from your driving record.

The attorneys at the Sammis Law Firm are still recommending that their clients demand a formal review hearing, even for a first DUI. We can help you obtain a 42-day permit so that you can keep driving to work while we fight to invalidate the suspension.

The DUI Breath in Manatee County, FL

After an arrest for DUI by the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office, the Bradenton Police Department, or the Florida Highway Patrol, the arresting officer will often ask you to submit to a breath test. The only breath test machine for evidentiary use approved in Florida is the Intoxilyzer 8000 manufactured by CMI, Inc.

The Intoxilyzer 8000 is an evidential breath alcohol instrument using the 3-micron and 9-micron infrared analysis technology to detect the presence of mouth alcohol and/or interfering substances. The instrument uses the 240VAC mains supply or an internal rechargeable battery.

In a DUI breath test case, we can perform an audit to uncover any problems with your test or the machine you tested on, including:

  • the way the your breath test was administered; and
  • the way your breath test machine was inspected and maintained.

Judges in Manatee County that Preside Over DUI Cases

Under Administrative Order No. 2017-19.4, the following judicial assignments became effective on January 1, 2018:

  • Criminal/Civil Division 1 – Honorable Renee Inman
  • Criminal/Civil Division 2 – Honorable Robert A. Farrance
  • Criminal/Civil Division 3 – Honorable K. Douglas Henderson
  • Criminal/Civil Division 4 – Honorable Mark D. Singer

After an arrest for DUI, the judge will set a bail at the first appearance hearing if the criminal report affidavit shows probable cause supports the allegation.

The judge presiding at the first appearance hearing will determine the appropriate amount of bail bond for any DUI Causing Death/Serious Bodily Injury. For a misdemeanor DUI, the bail is usually set according to a schedule.

In many DUI cases, your Manatee County DUI attorney will file and litigate all viable motions, including:

  • motions to suppress
  • motions to exclude unfairly prejudicial evidence; and
  • motions to dismiss the DUI charge for insufficient evidence.

At Sammis Law Firm, we take a scholarly approach to filing and litigating all viable motions in a DUI case in Bradenton, FL, for Manatee County. Call us today to discuss your DUI case at (813) 250-0500. The initial consultation with an attorney is free.

Read more about DUI arrests by the Bradenton Police Department and the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office.

Additional Information

DUI School in Manatee County, FL – Visit the website of the Manatee-Sarasota State College of Florida to learn more about the Traffic Safety Institute at State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota DUI program. Find out how to make an appointment to register for DUI School in Manatee County, FL, at the Bradenton, Sarasota, or Venice office. To register for the DUI SCHOOL, you must have the following information: a photo ID, proof of residency in Manatee or Sarasota County, the Uniform DUI Citation, Notice of Administrative Suspension, Police Arrest Report, Breath / Blood or Urine Test Results or Refusal, and Final Court Disposition or Order (if available). The registration fee for Level I is $300.00 and Level II is $445.00.

DUI Intoxiylzer 8000 used in Manatee County – Visit the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office website to find information on the Intoxilyzer 8000, the only breathalyzer used in Florida. A printer provides a report showing the result of each test. The website links the Certificates of Calibration, the agency inspection report, and FDLE records for each serial number used in Manatee County, including 80-000907, 80-000912, 80-000913, and 80-001150.

Traffic Unit of Manatee County Sheriff’s Office – The MCSO Traffic Unit is responsible for enforcing traffic laws on the roadways throughout Manatee County, including enforcing DUI statutes as a part of their patrolling function. The Sheriff’s Office Traffic Unit in Manatee County monitors a hotline to take complaints and respond to them. The number of the 24-hour Traffic Complaint Hotline is 941-723-5197.

Finding a Drunk Driving Defense Lawyer in Bradenton, FL

DUI cases are treated differently in Manatee County, FL. At the Sammis Law Firm, P.A., you can set up a phone or office consultation to speak with an experienced Criminal Defense Attorney for Bradenton, FL.

Obtaining an experienced and aggressive DUI attorney early in the process is one of the most important decisions you will make in fighting your case to avoid driving under the influence or drunk driving (DUI) conviction.

We represent clients in cases involving breath, urine, or blood tests. We also represent clients accused of refusing to submit to a chemical test.

Contact us to learn more about the best ways to fight your charges.

Call (813) 250-0500.

This article was last updated on Tuesday, February 20, 2024.