TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) – A driver’s license reinstatement dispute that focuses on whether alcohol should be considered a drug could be decided by the Florida Supreme Court.

An attorney for Richard Alan Chakrin, who tried to get his license reinstated after a conviction for DUI manslaughter, has gone to the Supreme Court after the 2nd District Court of Appeal this month upheld a decision by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles to deny the reinstatement.

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Chakrin was released from prison in 2014 after a DUI manslaughter conviction and, as allowed under state law, sought reinstatement of his driver’s license after a five-year period, according to the appeals court decision.

Part of state law required him to be “drug-free” for at least five years before a hearing on the proposed license reinstatement.

Chakrin said during a 2019 hearing that he drank a beer about a week before the hearing, leading to a department hearing officer denying the reinstatement.

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A Manatee County circuit judge, however, ruled that the requirement of being drug-free could not be interpreted as including alcohol. But in a 20-page decision on Oct. 14, the appeals court said the circuit judge did not properly follow legal precedents about whether alcohol is included in the term “drug-free.”

Chakrin’s attorney, Christopher Cosden, filed a notice that is a first step in asking the Supreme Court to resolve the dispute. The notice, which was posted on the Supreme Court website Wednesday, does not provide detailed arguments.

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