We remain open and steadfast in our commitment to helping our clients during these difficult days.

Proven Approach With Results Forged Through Experience

Image of attorney Mark L. Deniz

San Diego DUI cases and burdens of proof. APS Hearing Motions, hearings, defenses, and what all this means

On Behalf of | Oct 20, 2016 | Firm News |

Burden of proof is the name of the game in law.  It is the barometer we use in a particular hearing or part of a case.  A San Diego DUI case is no different.  In most San Diego County DUI cases there is several stages that use different burdens of proof.

I have clients ask me all the time, “if we lose the DMV hearing it tells me we should not take the case to trial”.  For people who are stepping into the legal world burdens of proof is foreign to them.  I hope this blog may give a little understanding.

Burden of Proof

It is defined as “the obligation to one’s assertion”.  This is obligation the moving party needs to meet.  In San Diego DUI cases, the government is usually the moving party.  Part of being prepared at the hearing is knowing the burden.

APS Hearing

A San Diego DUI case usually begins with a DMV hearing (or APS hearing).  In that hearing, the DMV has the burden of proof at an APS hearing. It must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the arresting officer had a reasonable belief that the driver was under the influence, that the arrest was lawful, and that the driver had a blood alcohol content of .08% or greater at the time of driving. If all three of these facts are proven, the license will be suspended.   


In a lot of San Diego DUIs there are motions.  One of the most common motions is a suppression motion, or a PC 1538.5 motion.  This motion questions the legality of the stop.  It addresses any Miranda issues that arise in a case.

The question of who bears the burden of proof-the prosecution or the defendant-on a Penal Code 1538.5 motion to suppress depends on whether or not the search or seizure was conducted without a warrant.


  1. If the search was conducted without a warrant, the presumption is that it was unreasonable-and the burden is on the prosecutor to prove that it was actually reasonable; BUT
  2. If the search was conducted with a warrant, then it is presumed to have been legal-and the burden is on the defense to prove that it wasn’t.

Whether a search was conducted with or without a warrant helps determine burden of proof for a motion to suppress.

Whichever side bears the burden of proof has to prove their case by a preponderance of the evidence. A “preponderance of the evidence” means that it is more likely than not that the search / seizure was unreasonable.

In most San Diego DUI cases the police did not obtain a warrant.  Therefore, the government has the burden to prove the stop.  

Jury Trial

A San Diego DUI jury trial has the highest burden of proof in our system.   The burden of proof is on the government. Citizens do not have to prove their innocence. Instead, the government must provide evidence to convince the jury of the defendant’s guilt. The person must be found guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt,” which means the evidence must be so strong that there is no reasonable doubt that the defendant committed the crime. All 12 members of the jury has to find someone guilty.  


In most San Diego DUI cases they end with some form of plea agreement. However, there is times when it is best to head to trial and make the government prove its case. This is the most essential fact when talking to a jury about a case.  Sometimes the facts cannot be proven with such a high burden.  This fact needs to be a consideration when deciding what to do with a San Diego DUI case.


  • Scintilla
    • A hint or trace of evidence
    • Used for Corpus cases
  • Reasonable Suspicion
    • Under the totality of circumstances, specific and articulable facts supporting a particularized suspicion that criminal activity is afoot
  • Reasonable Cause
    • Facts and circumstances that justifies reasonable suspicion/would motivate a person of ordinary intelligence
  • Probable Cause
    • Under the totality of the circumstances, a reasonable person would believe a crime has been committed and the person to be arrested committed the crime
  • Preponderance of Evidence
    • More likely than not
  • Clear and Convincing Evidence
    • Evidence that leaves you with a firm belief or conviction that it is highly probable the claim is true
  • Beyond a Reasonable Doubt
    • That no other logical explanation can be derived from the facts except that the defendant committed the crime, thereby overcoming the presumption that a person is innocent until proven guilty

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, 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 at 858-751-4384.

FindLaw Network
Share This