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What Does The DMV Have to Prove in The Administrative Per Se Hearing?

If you have been arrested in Los Angeles for driving with a BAC exceeding the legal limit, you will automatically fall under the scrutiny of the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). The DMV is tasked under the administrative Per Se Law with suspending or revoking your privileges in the event that there is sufficient evidence to show that you were driving while impaired. A DMV hearing must occur within a limited time frame, which is often 10 days from the date of arrest. This represents the civil section of the case, and you have the right to be represented by a Los Angeles DUI attorney during the hearing.


What Issues are addressed by the DMV?


Because this is not a criminal procedure, the DMV will not be concerned with establishing your guilt or lack thereof. However, the following issues will be addressed:


  • Whether the arresting officer had reasonable cause in believing that you were driving a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Whether your arrest was lawful
  • Whether you were fully informed of the possible suspension of your driving privileges in the event that you refused to submit to a chemical test
  • Whether you merely failed to complete the test or you actually refused to submit to the chemical tests.


You should note that the BAC level is obtained by blowing into a breathalyzer, and sometimes you could be unable to blow heard enough to obtain a reading. In such instances, the officers could assume that you are refusing to submit to the test, which could lead to harsh penalties. You will, therefore, need to consult with Los Angeles DUI lawyers to prove that you did not refuse compliance with the test requirements.


Preponderance of Evidence


At the hearing, you’re allowed to present your evidence, witnesses and testimony to back up your defense. You are also allowed representation by a Los Angeles DUI attorney, though this is not a mandatory requirement. If you have reluctant witnesses when it comes to testifying, they could be subpoenaed to appear. The criminal law procedure requires the prosecution to prove your guilt beyond reasonable doubt, a standard that is often extremely tough for the prosecutors to establish in a criminal case.


On the contrary, the standard of proof in a DMV Administrative Per Se trial is completely different, and it’s conducted according to the more relaxed principles of administrative law. The DMV is therefore required to establish guilt by a mere preponderance of the evidence, a standard that is only fulfilled if the evidence shows more guilt than innocence as shown below:


  • That the arresting police officer had reasonable cause to suspect you of driving under impairment and subsequently stopping you.
  • That you were arrested lawfully
  • That you were informed about the possible penalties for refusing to submit to a chemical test
  • That a test was conducted on you and proved that your BAC was higher than .08% at the time of testing.


If the DMV establishes that the above allegations are true, the hearing officer will have the choice to set aside or dismiss the charge, in which case you will retain your license.


A DMV hearing has a standard of proof that is almost always less strict than a criminal case. This gives the hearing officer more discretion; thus, they are more likely to rule against you. You will, therefore, want to hire experienced Los Angeles DUI lawyers; they could be capable of keeping the damaging evidence against you from being presented.


During the Administrative Per Se hearing, the DMV will present their case while challenging you to present your evidence against the impending suspension of your driving privilege. Ideally, the DMV’s evidence is presumed accurate and true; thus, you will need the assistance of Los Angeles DUI attorneys to rebut the evidence against you.

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