Petition for Writ of Certiorari to Review Quasi-Judicial Action, Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles:  DRIVER’S LICENSES – hardship license – suspension from special supervision services (SSS) program – due process – Petitioner was not denied due process by the SSS Program informing Petitioner that he did not need an attorney for appeal hearing – record supported conclusion that Petitioner violated terms of the SSS Program by testing positive for marijuana resulting in revocation of hardship license - Petition denied. Wilson v. Dept. of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, No. 06-0096AP-88B (Fla. 6th Cir. App. Ct. April 24, 2007).

 

 

IN THE CIRCUIT COURT FOR THE SIXTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT

IN AND FOR PINELLAS COUNTY, FLORIDA

APPELLATE DIVISION

 

WAYNE WILSON

                        Petitioner,

 

vs.                                                                                                Appeal No. 06-0096AP-88B

                                                                                                    UCN522006AP000096XXXXCV

 

STATE OF FLORIDA, DEPARTMENT OF

HIGHWAY SAFETY AND MOTOR VEHICLES,

                        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, Wayne Wilson (Wilson), seeks review of the cancellation of his “Business Purpose Only” license, via a letter from the Respondent, Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (Department), dated September 19, 2006.  In reviewing the administrative action taken by the Department, this Court must determine whether Wilson 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).

The record shows that on September 12, 2006, Wilson was notified by the Suncoast Safety Council that he was being terminated from its DUI Special Supervision Services (SSS) program due to Wilson testing positive for marijuana on August 31, 2006.  This resulted in the revocation of Wilson’s “Business Purpose Only” driver’s license by the Department.  Wilson appealed the decision of the Suncoast Safety Council to a neighboring SSS program, DUI Counterattack, located in Hillsborough County.  On November 11, 2006, DUI Counterattack upheld the decision of the Suncoast Safety Council to cancel Wilson’s participation in the SSS Program.

Before this Court, Wilson argues that he was denied due process because he was told that he did not need an attorney to represent him in his appeal, and that the Department’s revocation of his hardship license is a departure from the essential requirements of law and not supported by competent substantial evidence.  The Court finds that there is nothing in the record to support Wilson’s argument that he was denied due process because he was told that he did not “need” an attorney to represent him in his appeal to the neighboring SSS program, DUI Counterattack.  Indeed, there is nothing erroneous about this advice, if such was given.  Wilson does not argue that he was told that he could not be represented by an attorney or that he was prevented from bringing an attorney to the hearing.  There is no requirement that Wilson have legal representation for this type of proceeding.  See Fla. Admin. Code Rule 15A-10.031.  Further, as set forth in the SSS Appeal Case Review/Presentation, Wilson had been in contact with an attorney after he was terminated from the SSS program and received advice regarding the appeal process.

The remaining issues have no merit.  There is nothing in the record to support the argument that there was a departure from the essential requirements of law or that the final decision is not supported by competent substantial evidence.  Wilson declined to have the first urine sample re-tested, which could have negated the positive marijuana results. The results of the second test, taken by Quest Diagnostics on September 26, 2006, had no bearing on the results of the first test.  The Court is prohibited from reweighing the evidence to reach a different conclusion that Wilson was properly terminated from the DUI SSS program.  See Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles v. Satter, 643 So.2d 692, 695 (Fla. 5th DCA 1994)(stating that the circuit court is prohibited from reweighing the evidence).  Accordingly, the Court finds that certiorari relief must be denied.

            Therefore, it is,

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

            DONE AND ORDERED in Chambers, at St. Petersburg, Pinellas County, Florida this ________ day of March 2007.

 

                                                            ______________________________

                                                            DAVID A. DEMERS

                                                            Circuit Judge, Appellate Division

 

 

 

 

_____________________________                                      _____________________________

PETER RAMSBERGER                                                      AMY M. WILLIAMS

Circuit Judge, Appellate Division                                               Circuit Judge, Appellate Division

 

 

Copies furnished to:

 

Melissa A. Loesch, Esquire

13620 – 49th Street North, Suite 201

Clearwater, FL  33762

 

Heather Rose Cramer, Assistant General Counsel

Dept. of Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles

6801 Lake Worth Road, Suite 230

Lake Worth, FL  33467