Petition for Writ of Certiorari to Review Quasi-Judicial Action, Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles:  DRIVER’S LICENSES – hardship license – competent substantial evidence - undisputed evidence showed that driver was not involved in 2 motor vehicle crashes as found by the Department – even if the hearing officer had not erroneously considered the 2 motor vehicle crashes, Petitioner does not dispute the hearing officer’s findings that she had 5 previous convictions and 6 previous suspensions – Court cannot reweigh the evidence or substitute its judgment for that of the hearing officer that Petitioner was ineligible for a hardship license - Petition denied. Pucci v. Dept. of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, No. 06-0016AP-88B (Fla. 6th Cir. App. Ct. Sept. 13, 2006).

 

 

IN THE CIRCUIT COURT FOR THE SIXTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT

IN AND FOR PINELLAS COUNTY, FLORIDA

APPELLATE DIVISION

 

VALERIE J. PUCCI,

                        Petitioner,

 

vs.                                                                                               Appeal No. 06-0016AP-88A

                                                                                                   UCN522006AP000016XXXXCV

 

STATE OF FLORIDA, DEPARTMENT

OF HIGHWAY SAFETY AND MOTOR

VEHICLES, DIVISION OF DRIVER LICENSES,

                        Respondent.

____________________________________________/

 

 

ORDER DENYING PETITION FOR WRIT OF CERTIORARI 

            THIS CAUSE came before the Court on the Petition for Writ of Certiorari, the Response and the Reply.  Upon consideration of the same, the record and being otherwise fully advised, the Court finds that the Petition must be denied as set forth below.

            The Petitioner, Valerie J. Pucci (Pucci), seeks review of the Final Order, entered February 3, 2006, in which the Respondent, Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (Department), denied Pucci’s application for early reinstatement of her driver’s license, or hardship license.  In reviewing the administrative action taken by the Department, this Court must determine whether Pucci was afforded procedural due process, whether the essential requirements of law were observed, and whether the Department’s findings and judgment are supported by competent substantial evidence.  See Vichich v. Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, 799 So.2d 1069, 1073 (Fla. 2d DCA 2001)(setting forth the standard of review for administrative action taken by the Department).

            After a formal review hearing, the hearing officer entered the following findings of fact:

After carefully considering all the facts pertaining to your driving record, which includes 5 previous convictions, 2 motor vehicle crashes, 6 previous suspensions, and no previous revocations, in addition to your qualification, fitness and need to drive, I find as follows:

           

            Continued driving prior to your application for a hardship license.

            Your reconsideration date is 1-26-2007.

 

            While the issues are not succinctly framed, Pucci argues that the hearing officer erred in

denying her application for early reinstatement because the hearing officer erroneously found that Pucci had been involved in 2 motor vehicles crashes, that Pucci had illegally obtained a driver’s license in Delaware, and that Pucci had driven while her Florida license was revoked.  After reviewing the record, the Court finds that the Final Order is supported by competent substantial evidence.    See Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles v. Trimble, 821 So.2d 1084, 1087 (Fla. 1st DCA 2002)(describing competent substantial evidence as evidence that is “sufficiently relevant and material that a reasonable mind would accept it as adequate to support the conclusion reached”). 

            In reaching this conclusion, the Court finds that the Department does not dispute Pucci’s assertion that she was never involved in 2 motor vehicle crashes.  However, Pucci concedes that she has had 5 previous convictions and does not dispute the hearing officer’s finding that she has had 6 previous suspensions.  Further, Pucci states in her Petition that she operated a motor vehicle while her driver’s license was suspended.  Hence, even if the hearing officer had not considered the 2 motor vehicle crashes, there is competent substantial evidence in the record to support the Final Order.  The Court will not reweigh the evidence nor substitute its judgment for that of the hearing officer.  See Dept. of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles v. Smith, 687 So.2d 30, 33 (Fla. 1st DCA 1997).

 

 

 

             Therefore, it is,

            ORDERED AND ADJUDGED that the Petition for Writ of Certiorari is denied.   

            DONE AND ORDERED in Chambers, at Clearwater, Pinellas County, Florida this ________ day of September 2006.

 

 

                                                _______________________________

                                                JOHN A. SCHAEFER

                                                Circuit Judge, Appellate Division

 

 

 

 

 

_______________________________                                  ______________________________

LAUREN C. LAUGHLIN                                                     BRANDT C. DOWNEY, III

Circuit Judge, Appellate Division                                               Circuit Judge, Appellate Division

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Copies furnished to:

 

Valerie J. Pucci

206 School Lane

Greenwood, DE  19950

 

Jason Helfant, Assist. General Counsel

Fla. Dept. of Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles

2515 West Flagler Street

Miami, FL  33135

 

Bureau of Administrative Reviews

4585 140th Avenue North, Suite 1002

Clearwater, FL  33762