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What is Police Evidence at an Administrative Per Se/DUI Hearing?
Under California’s Administrative Per Se Law, any driver who has been detained or arrested for driving a motor vehicle with a blood/alcohol concentration which is “at or above” the legal limit is presumed to have violated the law and their driving privilege is to be suspended immediately. The Administrative Per Se Law presumes that the officer had a lawful reason to contact and detain or arrest the driver.
The law also presumes that the driver’s blood/alcohol concentration was at or above the legal limit at the time of driving. All of these presumptions are based solely upon the law enforcement officer’s observations and belief. If a driver elects to fight the suspension of his or her driver license, they must schedule and conduct an Administrative Hearing before the DMV’s Division of Driver Safety. Known as an Administrative Per Se or “APS” Hearing, these are full-blown evidentiary hearings where evidence is introduced, witnesses may testify, experts may offer opinions, and legal arguments are considered.
If a driver contests the suspension of their driver license at an APS Hearing, the DMV will rely on Police Evidence to establish that the license suspension is justified. The most common forms of police evidence considered at APS Hearings are:
- Probable cause for stop, contact, or detention.
- Sobriety Checkpoints.
- Statements of witnesses.
- The officer’s observations of the symptoms of alcohol intoxication.
- The performance of Field Sobriety Tests.
- The results of a field breathalyzer, known as a Preliminary Alcohol Screening test (PAS).
- The results of chemical blood, breath, or urine samples (Scientific Evidence).
- A driver’s refusal to submit to chemical testing after an arrest.
Police Evidence is normally presented in sworn reports, arrest reports, traffic collision reports, laboratory analysis reports, and witness statements. Also, police officers are often called to testify at APS Hearings to clarify information or to justify their actions.
Properly collecting, examining, and attacking police evidence is a cornerstone to good DMV defense. The DMV Defense Experts at California Drivers Advocates have backgrounds in law enforcement, investigations, and the forensic sciences. CDA has a proven record of discovering errors and revealing issues of trustworthiness in police evidence. Put a group of winners on your case. Call CDA today.
Why Do Police Collect Evidence for Administrative Per Se/DUI Hearings?
One of the cornerstones of the American Justice System is the right of all citizens to Procedural Due Process. Essentially, this means that an accused person, whether in a criminal court or at a DMV Administrative Per Se (APS) Hearing has an absolute right to see and challenge any evidence against them. The accused person has a right to know and confront witnesses. Procedural Due Process grants any person in the United States the right to fight for themselves; and even though the DMV would like to believe otherwise, Procedural Due Process DOES apply at all DMV Administrative Hearings.
The California Evidence Code does permit the DMV to presume that a law enforcement officer’s “Official Duty” has been performed. This means that going into an APS Hearing, the DMV Hearing Officer is permitted to presume the trustworthiness of everything the arresting officer saw and did. It is presumed that all of the evidence against the driver is trustworthy and accurate. Fortunately, these are “rebuttal presumptions,” which means that a driver has the right to prove the evidence is wrong or untrustworthy.
Because we are all guaranteed the right to Procedural Due Process, we are entitled to disprove the allegation against us. Because of Due Process, we are permitted to demonstrate that law enforcement officers are not always correct, they are not always honest, and they are not always accurate. Because our system of law allows us to challenge the allegation of law enforcement officers, they are required to collect evidence which is then presented at an APS Hearing to justify the suspension of the driving privilege of the accused person.
Basically, our system of justice mandates that police officers collect evidence to prove that they acted in a lawful manner and that the accused person is guilty of the accusation. If police officers were not mandated to collect evidence, there would be no way to hold them accountable for their actions.
For police evidence to be presented at an APS Hearing, it must:
- Be derived from a trustworthy source.
- Be accurate, complete and honest.
- Be relevant.
- Be collected and presented in a timely manner.
The truth of the matter is that police officers are human. Occasionally they make mistakes and more infrequently they can be dishonest and deceptive. Although police evidence is presumed accurate and honest, it is there to be challenged and rebutted. With the help of a DMV Defense Expert from California Drivers Advocates, you can examine the evidence in your case to determine if there is a way to reverse the suspension of your driver license. Call CDA today.
How Can I Fight Police Evidence at an Administrative Per Se/DUI Hearing?
Under the specific provisions of California Administrative Law and the Evidence Code, DMV Hearing Officers are instructed to presume that an arresting law enforcement officer has performed his official duty correctly and honestly. It is further presumed that all police reports are accurate and honest. Finally, it is presumed that the scientific evidence (blood, breath, urine) correctly reflects your blood/alcohol concentration at the time of driving. As stated above, however, these are all REBUTTABLE PRESUMPTIONS. This means that although all police evidence is presumed accurate, the accused driver is permitted to challenge and attack that presumption.
It is unlikely that the average driver in California will possess the knowledge, training, and experience to successfully rebut the DMV’s presumption of accuracy. To successfully attack and rebut the DMV’s presumption, an accused driver should immediately seek the assistance of a DMV Defense Expert.
At California Drivers Advocates, we use a team approach to attacking police evidence. A complete and thorough review of all the evidence and then a broad investigation to uncover the truth is the path to success. Knowing that police evidence is wrong is one thing; but properly proving it is something altogether different. Knowing that a mistake was made or that a police officer has falsified a material fact in his report, and knowing how to make that information admissible by the Hearing Officer, requires two totally different levels of experience.
Because the DMV will fight to protect their presumption, they are eager to keep a driver’s evidence out of an APS Hearing. Using excuses like “timeliness, relevance, or reliability,” the DMV Hearing Officers will fight tooth and nail to block a driver from introducing the truth. The only way to successfully turn the tables on the DMV is through the skill and work of a DMV Defense Expert from California Drivers Advocates.
We have the Experience to Attack the Police Evidence at an APS Hearing.
The staff at California Drivers Advocates is a group of former police officers, former DMV hearing officers, private investigators, and forensic scientists who are all devoted to beating the DMV at their own game. Because our team has such broad training and experience, we know precisely what police officers are doing during a DUI investigation. We know precisely how the body processes alcohol and we know how blood, breath, and urine samples are collected, stored, and analyzed.
If your driving privilege is important to you, don’t leave anything to chance. Don’t allow yourself to be defended by anyone who hasn’t been battling the DMV for years. Call CDA today, we’re ready to attack the police evidence in your case.