Stone LockettSL Stone Lockett | When Bad Things Happen To Good People - Criminal Defense
Jacksonville 904-396-3335
Ponte Vedra Beach 904-858-9818
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Yes, it's happening. And happening right before our eyes. DUI lawyers have long been suspicious of how DMV handles DUI formal review hearings. Many of us have opined that DMV sides with the police officer 90% of the time or more, but we never knew for sure. Well now we do. 

A few months back, I made a public records request which was routine enough. I was just looking for some information on one of our local DUI officers and received something I was not expecting. It was a gem of sorts. A revelation and a confirmation of what I knew. DL hearings involving DUI suspensions held before the Florida Bureau of Administrative Reviews (B.A.R.)are not fair. The title of the flyer that I happened upon said it all:

Training Invitation: For Law Enforcement Agencies.

There it was. In black and white. Direct evidence that the B.A.R., despite it's directive to preside over these adversarial hearings in a fair and impartial way, is traveling around the state offering tips and strategies to police officers on how to increase their odds of winning the heairngs and denying the private citizen a fair hearing. 

The flyer goes on to tell the officers that they will be taught "what is required to be in the probable cause affidavit and what should not be in there." What shouldn't be in there? Are they referring to things like the truth? Why would the B.A.R. be concerned with telling police officers what to leave out of their reports? Why would they be involved in telling the police anything about these hearings?

So I issued a new public records request directly to DMV and the B.A.R. I had to find out more about these training seminars, so I obtained the actual manual. And boy was it telling. The B.A.R. brags about a 95% success rate in ruling against the private citizen in these hearings. That is a staggering figure for any legal forum. Not many legal venues include one side bludgeoning the other at such a high rate. What's worse is that the manual even asks the officers what can be done to improve those stats!

So what should be done? Our firm has began a campaign to bring this attention to the courts. We have filed many appeals and are committed to bringing it up the "appellate ladder" as far is takes. The law is fairly clear that B.A.R. judges (known as "hearing officers") "must take extraordinary care to be as impartial and neutral as the members of the judiciary are required to be." 

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