Tallahassee DUI Accidents: Florida Supreme Court Denies Hardship License To Drunk Driver
Drunk driving accidents are often the worst type of accidents, because they often involve high speed collisions. Drunk drivers often fall asleep at the wheel or drive recklessly due to decreased inhibitions. The Tallahassee personal injury lawyers at Barrett, Fasig & Brooks have developed a particular interest in drunk driving cases in Tallahassee and North Florida, and the development of the law related to drunk driving. We have seen the devastating effects drunk driving can cause.
Advocates against drunk driving gained an important win on January 29, 2016, when the Florida Supreme Court denied a writ of certiorari from a drunk driver who was attempting to gain a hardship license. Drunk drivers in Tallahassee know that if they are convicted of driving drunk, they face the possibility of losing their license. If somebody is convicted of DUI four times, that person loses his or her license permanently. However, according to Florida Statute 322.271(5), the drunk driver can apply for a hardship license after remaining drug free for at least five years:
A person whose driving privilege has been permanently revoked because he or she has been convicted four or more times of violating s. 316.193 or former s. 316.1931 may, upon the expiration of 5 years after the date of the last conviction or the expiration of 5 years after the termination of any incarceration under s. 316.193 or former s. 316.1931, whichever is later, petition the department for reinstatement of his or her driving privilege.
(a) Within 30 days after receipt of a petition, the department shall provide for a hearing, at which the petitioner must demonstrate that he or she:
1. Has not been arrested for a drug-related offense for at least 5 years prior to filing the petition;
2. Has not driven a motor vehicle without a license for at least 5 years prior to the hearing;
3. Has been drug-free for at least 5 years prior to the hearing; and
4. Has completed a DUI program licensed by the department.
In Jay Morrell v. State of Florida, the Circuit Court of the 1st Judicial Circuit upheld the denial of a drunk driver’s application for a hardship license, because the applicant had consumed alcohol within the five previous years. The 2nd District Court of Appeals confirmed the Circuit Court’s ruling. The drunk driver applied for review by the Florida Supreme Court, stating that that hardship statute only required him to be drug free for the past five years, not alcohol free. The Supreme Court denied certiorari (the drunk driver loses), stating, “A person whose license has been permanently revoked for several DUI convictions should expect ‘drug free’ in this context to include alcohol.”
The Tallahassee personal injury lawyers at Barrett, Fasig & Brooks see too many people killed or catastrophically injured due to drunk driving accidents. We believe that nobody should have to suffer for one second at the hands of a drunk driver. We applaud the Florida Supreme Court for making the right decision in this case. By requiring repeat drunk drivers to remain alcohol free for five years before driving with a hardship license, we believe the streets and highways of our State are a little bit safer.