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Bureau of Administrative Review (BAR) Office 

The Bureau of Administrative Review (BAR) office in Gainesville, FL, is authorized by Florida Statutes to conduct hearings and reviews for the purpose of determining eligibility to reinstate driver license suspensions and revocations. The BAR Office is part of the Office of General Counsel and is comprised of 116 supervisors, hearing officers, and administrative secretaries, in 16 offices separated into three regions around the state. 

During a two-year period from July 1, 2013, through June 30, 2015, the BAR offices across Florida received $1,570,033 in BAR related fees and conducted a total of 87,515 hearings and reviews.

Attorneys for Formal Review Hearings in Gainesville, FL

If you were arrested for DUI in Gainesville or Alachua County, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. Act quickly because you only have ten days to file the demand for a formal review hearing.

For any DUI arrest in Alachua County, FL, the formal review hearing will be conducted at the Bureau of Administrative Review (BAR) Office in Gainsville, FL. The office is located at 2815 NW 13th Street, Suite 302 in Gainesville, Florida 32609.

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BAR Office in Gainesville, FL

The BAR office in Gainesville, FL, conducts administrative reviews and hearings for a variety of issues including administrative suspensions for driving with an unlawful blood alcohol level (DUBAL) or refusal to submit to a breath, blood, or urine test.

Within 10 days of your DUI arrest, your criminal defense attorney can help you demand a formal review hearing to contest the administrative suspension of your driver’s license. The Formal Review Hearing is conducted by a DHSMV Field Hearing Officer. The formal review hearing allows the driver to challenge the suspension or revocation of their driving privilege. Your criminal defense attorney can be present. Your attorney can also serve a subpoena on any witnesses that your attorney wants to appear at the formal review hearing.

During an Informal Review, the driver can ask the hearing officer to review all materials in the case file to challenge the suspension or revocation of their driving privilege. Only the hearing officer is present during this review. It is better to request a formal review hearing instead of an informal hearing. 

The formal review hearing at the BAR is strictly administrative. The ruling to uphold or invalidate the administrative suspension holds no merit against criminal proceedings. The formal review hearings are conducted in accordance with Section 322.2615, Florida Statutes (F.S.), Section 322.2616, F.S., Section 322.271, F.S., and Section 322.64, F.S.

If a BAR hearing officer invalidates the suspension of a driver license, it is possible that the criminal court could revoke the license when the criminal proceeding is finalized. BAR hearing officers are required to conduct comprehensive training to conduct hardship hearings and administrative review hearing. 

After you demand a formal review hearing, you can request a copy of the arrest packet sent to the BAR Office in Gainesville, FL, relating to the suspension and revocation of driver licenses from law enforcement agencies. 

After the BAR receives the packet, it will review the packet for accuracy and compliance. The packets include all of the arrest documents (if received), as well as all BAR correspondence. When the formal review hearing is requested by the criminal defense attorney for the driver, the BAR schedules the administrative case within the BAR database (GOBI).

GOBI is an access database utilized by all BAR members. It serves as a tracking system for all hearings and reviews. BAR members can create, update, delete, and run reports for BAR cases within GOBI.

Section 322.2615, F.S., states once an administrative review is held, hearing officers must submit their final order within seven working days. Once the order is determined, hearing officers will update GOBI. They will also update the Florida Driver License Information System (FDLIS), which serves as the official driving record.

Section 322.2616, F.S., gives BAR the authority to conduct formal and informal reviews for drivers under the age of 21 who were arrested for driving with an unlawful blood- alcohol or breath-alcohol level, or refusal to submit to a test to determine their blood- alcohol or breath-alcohol level.

The Hardship Hearing after the DUI Administrative Suspension

If the suspension is upheld, you can request a Hardship Hearings to request a business or employment restricted license because the suspension or revocation of their driving privilege is causing undue hardship. Section 322.271, F.S., gives BAR the authority to issue hardship driver licenses for business or employment purposes. A driver who had their license suspended can request a hardship hearing. 

In order to apply for a hardship driver license, a driver must complete or enroll in a driver training course or a driving under the influence program substance abuse course. Once completed, the information is updated by the course provider and electronically sent to the Department. Nightly, the driving record of attendees is updated and can be tracked within Department systems.

Section 322.64, F.S., gives BAR the authority to conduct formal and informal reviews for holders of commercial driver licenses that were disqualified from operating a commercial vehicle due to driving with an unlawful blood-alcohol level or breath-alcohol level, or refusal to submit to a breath, urine, or blood test.

All hearings and reviews with the driver or witnesses present are recorded and placed in network drives specific for each BAR office. Drivers requesting an administrative review are required to pay $25, while those requesting a hardship hearing are required to pay $12. Drivers are required to pay the BAR fees prior to their hearings and reviews. 

BAR staff are responsible for scheduling and holding administrative hearings and reviews. Each office has a supervisor and hearing officers. Some offices have administrative secretaries that handle administrative tasks.

This article was last updated on Friday, May 19, 2017.

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