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The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) has initiated a new procedure called the Expedited Review Hearing. This is a new process which eliminates the need for a telephone hearing to issue a business purposes only license, commonly referred to as a BPO. With most Florida DMV offices suffering severe staff shortages, the purpose of this new procedure is to cut down the waiting time a driver will experience in receiving his or her hardship license. The official DMV form used is HSMV 78306.

For many years the Florida DMV has used an administrative form which the driver uses to obtain a hardship license after a license suspension. This is what is more commonly known as a business purposes only license, or BPO. For years the procedure has been to complete the administrative hearing form, attach the necessary documentation, and mail or fax the paperwork to the closest regional Department of Motor Vehicle office. The driver would then wait for a phone call from the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. A telephone hearing would then be conducted, a fee collected for the hearing, and if eligible the driver would be approved for a driver’s license.

With the new Expedited Review Hearing, a telephone hearing is no longer necessary, but can still be used if the driver prefers. Form 78306 has two options, either Option 1 for an Expedited Review, or Option 2 Hearing Request. With either option, the driver must submit a completed 78306 form, and attach the necessary documentation, which normally includes proof of completion of driving school, or the DUI school completion certificate in DUI cases. The driver with either option must include a $12 payment, which is paid to the Division of Motorist Services.

If Option 2 is selected, the driver elects the telephone hearing traditionally used by the Florida DMV. Once the application and payment is received, at some point a hearing officer from DHSMV will call the driver, conduct the hardship license hearing over the telephone, and if eligible, approve the driver for a business purposes only license. The biggest drawback with Option 2 is knowing exactly when the telephone hearing will be conducted. The calls are made during regular business hours during the week, and there is no way of knowing when that call will be made. A driver potentially has to be available at all hours for the call. In the case of a missed call, there is no guarantee of a second call or a voice mail message from the DMV.

If Option 1 is selected, the driver waives the option of a telephone hearing. The paperwork and payment must be submitted to the Department of Motor Vehicles in the same manner as Option 2, but there is no longer the need to wait for a telephone call. Once the paperwork is reviewed by DHSMV, a decision is made and transmitted to the driver. The decision could be sent by regular U.S. mail, email, or a phone call by the Department.

The new procedure with the Expedited Review appears to be the better option, and eliminates the need to constantly be on standby waiting for a phone call. It has been the experience of this law office so far in 2022 that the Expedited Review is much quicker than the traditional telephone hearing, and accomplishes the same result in less time.