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DMV Hearing Issues

Drivers in California arrested on suspicion of DUI 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 a 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.

California DMV hearings are complicated, and the repercussions of an unsuccessful hearing are severe. An experienced San Diego criminal defense attorney like Mark Deniz will develop an aggressive strategy to fight 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:

  • Whether police had a reasonable cause to believe that the driver was driving a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol
  • Whether the arrest was lawful
  • Whether the motorist was driving a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08% or more, by weight, of alcohol in blood.

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 jury 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 a criminal DUI jury 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 in the last 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. At the Law Offices of Mark Deniz, we are 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.

Hire a Proactive, affordable, and quality defense when you are facing San Diego DUI charges. Whether you have been charged of a San Diego DUI, Poway DUI, La Mesa DUI, Santee DUI, Mission Valley DUI, Clairemont DUI, Point Loma DUI, La Jolla DUI, Carmel Valley DUI, Mira Mesa DUI, Pacific Beach DUI, Del Mar DUI, Carmel Valley DUI, Encinitas DUI, Oceanside DUI, Ocean Beach DUI, Escondido DUI, Vista DUI, San Marcos DUI, Carlsbad DUI, El Cajon DUI it is vital you need to hire an attorney who knows how to defend your rights and can determine if the government can prove their case. Contact the Law Office of Mark Deniz now for a free case evaluation


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