Petition for Writ of Certiorari to Review Quasi-Judicial Action, Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles: DRIVER’S LICENSES – Suspension – Record contains competent substantial evidence supporting Hearing Officer’s findings that arresting officer had probable cause to believe Petitioner was driving under the influence of alcohol and that arresting officer properly advised Petitioner of his Miranda rights. Accident report privilege no longer applies to administrative license proceedings. §§ 316.066(4), 322.2615, Fla. Stat. (2011). Petition denied. Belanger v. Fla. Dep’t of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, No. 11-000044AP-88B (Fla. 6th Cir. App. Ct. January 6, 2012).
NOT FINAL UNTIL TIME EXPIRES FOR REHEARING AND, IF FILED, DETERMINED
IN THE CIRCUIT COURT FOR THE SIXTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT
Ref. No.: 11-000044AP-88B
v. UCN: 5220011AP000044XXXXCV
OF HIGHWAY SAFETY AND MOTOR
ORDER DENYING PETITION FOR CERTIORARI
CAUSE is before the Court on a Petition for Writ of Certiorari filed by the
Petitioner, Andrew Belanger, on August 25, 2011. The Respondent, State of
According to the documentary evidence,
Petitioner was involved in a vehicle accident in
Officer Gosnell further reported: “I advised Belanger of his Miranda Rights from my SAO issued card and further advised him that this was only for the purpose of questioning. Belanger said that he understood his rights and would answer my questions. . . . .” Petitioner explained the circumstances of the accident and admitted to drinking three beers prior to the accident. Officer Cox videotaped Officer Gosnell administer Field Sobriety Tests to the Petitioner, who exhibited further signs of impairment.
Officer Gosnell placed Petitioner under arrest for DUI and escorted him to the rear of Officer Cox’s patrol car. There Petitioner refused to take a breathalyzer test. Officer Cox then read and explained the Implied Consent Form to Petitioner, who refused again to provide a breath sample. Officer Gosnell prepared the arrest paperwork and DUI citation, and Officer Cox completed the Alcohol Influence Report Form and Refusal Form. Officer Gosnell’s investigation yielded no prior DUI convictions, but Petitioner did have a prior refusal to submit.
At the hearing conducted on July 27, 2011, counsel for the Petitioner raised an objection to Officer Gosnell’s narrative concerning statements made by the Petitioner. Specifiically, Petitioner argued that the Miranda warning was insufficient to make him aware that the questioning was for a criminal investigation. Citing to the accident report privilege, Petitioner also argues that, since Officer Gosnell did not conduct the accident investigation, he lacked first-hand knowledge that the Petitioner was the driver. The hearing officer entered an order sustaining the suspension of Petitioner’s license. Petitioner subsequently filed this petition for writ of certiorari.
In reviewing the administrative
decision, this Court is limited to determining (1) whether procedural due
process has been accorded, (2) whether the essential requirements of law have
been met and (3) whether the administrative hearing officer’s findings are
supported by competent, substantial evidence.
Vichich v. Dep’t of Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles,
799 So. 2d 1069, 1073 (
The accident report privilege no
longer applies to administrative license proceedings. §§ 316.066(4), 322.2615
Accordingly, it is hereby
ORDERED AND ADJUDGED that the Petition for Writ of Certiorari is DENIED.
Original order entered on January 6, 2012, by Circuit Judges Amy M. Williams, Peter Ramsberger, and Pamela A.M. Campbell.
Copies furnished to:
Craig Epifanio, Esquire
Attorney for Petitioner
Damaris E. Reynolds, Esquire
Assistant General Counsel
Attorney for Respondent