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In the Los Angeles, California area, when a driver is arrested under suspicion of driving under the influence, the police officer will take possession of the person’s license and inform them that their driving privileges are suspended for 30 days. In that situation, the driver has 10 days’ time to request an administrative hearing with the Department of Motor Vehicles to contest that. If the driver doesn’t file for the hearing, the driver’s license is automatically suspended.
When there is a hearing with the DMV, there will be expert testimony involved. The hearing, known as an administrative per se (APS), is done with an officer with the DMV who doesn’t have a background in law. The hearing officer must introduce evidence to support the suspension of the person’s driver’s license and is the one who decides at the end whether the license suspension is justified.
The defense can call witnesses to show evidence during the APS hearing. This can take place in person at the DMV’s Drivers Safety Branch Office or via phone. The hearing officer can also call witnesses. These witnesses can be people who actually witnessed the accident or expert witnesses who can testify to details based on their expert knowledge.
The DMV can also call in expert witnesses for certain circumstances. For example, it’s presumed that any test performed within three hours of the individual driving can be used as evidence of the defendant’s BAC during the time when they were driving. The defense can contest that. In some cases, testing may have been done past the three-hour mark, which would then require an expert witness from the Los Angeles County Crime Lab to testify about retrograde extrapolation and how it can be used to show a driver’s BAC while they were driving. Most often, these expert witnesses, who work with law enforcement, deliver evidence that is unfavorable to the defendant.
The defense can also bring expert witnesses in to testify. Frequently, the expert will testify as to whether the suspension of license is appropriate. Many of these individuals have experience in working with law enforcement and have a great deal of knowledge about testing related to DUI.
If a driver’s BAC turns out to be close to 0.08 percent, it’s wise to have an expert come to testify at the APS hearing. This person can explain about margins of error in testing and check to see whether devices used for testing were properly working during the time the defendant was tested. The expert can also testify about what might raise a driver’s blood alcohol concentration and if there might have been a period of absorption after the individual was drinking. There are actually many instances where the driver’s BAC can be higher during the absorption stage, which can occur before they were actually driving. An expert can prove that the individual’s BAC was less than 0.08 while they were driving but testing showed it as higher as a result of their blood alcohol rising.
Being arrested for a DUI is a very serious situation. If you or someone you know has been arrested and there is the concern of possibly dealing with the suspension of your driver’s license, it’s pertinent that you immediately get in touch with an experienced Los Angeles DUI attorney