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DMV Administrative Per Se Hearing Issues

California drivers arrested for DUI or driving under the influence of drugs (DUID) face two separate cases - in criminal court and at the California Department of Motor Vehicles. The motorist has only 10 calendar days after the date of arrest to request what is called an administrative per se hearing (APS) at the DMV. If the driver does not request a hearing, the Department of Motor Vehicles will automatically suspend driver's license 31 days after the date of the arrest for driving under the influence of alcohol and for one year after a conviction for driving under the influence of medication or drugs in the criminal court.

California DMV hearings are complicated, and the consequences of a driver's license suspension are severe. An experienced California DUI defense attorney can develop an effective strategy to win or minimize the impact of an Administrative Per Se (APS) action at the Department of Motor Vehicles.

DMV hearing officer must establish only three facts in order to suspend a driver's license:

In California drivers who refuse to take chemical tests to determine BAC face additional punishment. If the driver refused the test, there are two additional issues at stake - whether the motorist was advised of the consequences of refusing the test, and whether he or she continued to refuse after being warned of those repercussions.

Department of Motor Vehicles APS cases must be proven by a preponderance of the evidence - the lowest standard of proof in the justice system. By contrast, in a criminal DUI court trial, a jury must find the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Department of Motor Vehicles must find, by a preponderance of the evidence, that all three of the above facts are true.

Unlike California criminal DUI trial, there are usually no live witnesses at the APS hearing - the DMV's decision is typically based only on police reports and chemical test results, if available.

One extremely odd facet of the California DMV hearing is that the judge and prosecutor are the same person, meaning that the same individual introduces the evidence, then decides on its merit. The hearing administrator isn't even a judge - the hearing officer is a DMV employee.

Drivers who lose the California DMV APS hearing face harsh sanctions - for a first offense, the license is suspended for four months, although the driver may receive a restricted license to drive to work. Drivers who refused chemical tests will lose their licenses for one year, and no restricted license will be issued.

Multiple DUI convictions within 10 years carry even greater consequences at the California Department of Motor Vehicles. Drivers arrested for multiple DUI offenses within 10 years lose their licenses for one year, or two years if the driver refused a chemical test. On a third DUI offense, the license is suspended for three years.

California DMV hearings are complex procedures with high stakes, but they can be fought and won. A California drunk driving defense attorney experienced in representing DUI defendants at the Department of Motor Vehicles hearings can prepare a defense to help accused drunk drivers prevail at the Administrative Per Se (APS) hearings.

Call a Qualified Attorney Now!

Robert Tayac's office may be reached at 415-552-6000, or 800-254-0000 between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. any day of the week and in an emergency at any time.

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