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Standard of Proof at an Administrative Per Se/DUI Hearing

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What is an Administrative Per Se Hearing?

Arrested for DUI, an automatic process known as the Administrative Per Se process engages immediately. The Administrative Per Se Law requires the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to immediately suspend the driving privilege of the accused driver unless he or she makes a timely request for a hearing to reverse the process.

The administrative hearing that is conducted to decide the driver’s guilt or innocence is known as an Administrative Per Se Hearing. Often referred to as an APS Hearing, this is a full-blown evidentiary hearing where the driver is permitted to present evidence and witnesses. The driver may also cross-examine police officers and attack the evidence against him or her.

It is important to note that the Administrative Per Se hearing is an administrative hearing that has nothing to do with the separate criminal action taken by a criminal court. The APS hearing is a “stand alone” process focused exclusively on the person’s privilege to drive; not if a person is guilty of innocent of a crime.

What is the Standard of Proof at an APS Hearing?

After years and years of watching courtroom dramas on television, we have all come to recognize that a person cannot be punished for a crime unless their guilt is proven “beyond a reasonable doubt.” This is often a tough standard for prosecutors to establish in a criminal case; in fact the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard is so powerful that it places the American Justice System at the top of judicial systems throughout the world. It is fair because to punish a person for a crime is a serious undertaking and therefore, we must ensure that we only punish the guilty.

Conversely, the Standard of Proof at a DMV Administrative Per Se Hearing is entirely different. Conducted in accordance with the “relaxed” standards of Administrative Law, the DMV need only establish guilt by a Mere Preponderance of the Evidence. This standard is met if the evidence points more to guilt than to innocence.

When an APS Hearing comes to an end, it then becomes the duty of the assigned hearing officer to review all of the evidence in the case. He or she must apply the proper rules of evidence and only consider that evidence which has been properly introduced at the hearing. A Preponderance is present when the evidence makes it “more likely than not that the accused is guilty…… more likely than not that the evidence is accurate and true.”

By all accounts this is the lowest standard applied to any legal proceeding. Additionally, DMV Hearing Officers are instructed and trained to “presume” that a Preponderance of Evidence already exists when the hearing begins. This means that before you even walk into the hearing, the person who sits in judgement of you is already presuming that the officer had a lawful reason to stop you, a lawful reason to arrest you, and to presume that you were driving with an alcohol level above the legal limit.

At a DMV Hearing you are presumed guilty before you even enter the room. The goal of an APS Hearing is for the accused driver to rebut (disprove) the evidence against him.

How Do I Fight the Preponderance of Evidence?

 The goal of any driver at an Administrative Per Se Hearing is to “Rebut” the DMV’s evidence. Make no mistake, to prevail at an APS Hearing requires the assistance of a DMV Defense Expert with years of experience in examining and attacking all elements of a DUI case.

The DMV Defense Experts from California Drivers Advocates possess advanced training and experience to uncover issues related to the Probable Cause for stop or contact. We can examine issues related to the accuracy of blood or breath analysis, the quality of a field investigation, the credibility of the arresting officer, and even things as simple as clerical errors on the paperwork. Anything that rebuts the DMV’s presumption that you’re guilty.

Fighting the Preponderance of Evidence means that you must be able to convince the DMV hearing officer that their evidence is not correct, not accurate, or dishonest. Knowledge of the Vehicle Code, the Evidence Code, the Government Code, and the Administrative Procedures Act are critical to winning an APS Hearing. Simply having the knowledge of the law is not enough; your DMV Defense Expert also must understand the procedures necessary to introduce your evidence or to attack the DMV’s evidence. Knowledge without proper application is pointless. It’s not easy, but it can be done with proper guidance from CDA.

Call Us Today, We Will Attack the DMV’s Preponderance of Evidence.

An APS Hearing at the DMV is a difficult and frustrating process. Without knowledge and experience there is simply no way to overcome the DMV’s Preponderance of Evidence or their presumption in its accuracy.

DMV Defense is all we do. That’s it. When we step into an APS Hearing it is after a complete investigation of the case and a complete preparation to attack the DMV’s evidence. Not every APS Hearing can be won, but when it can be demonstrated that no Preponderance of Evidence exists, the driver is entitled to have their driving privilege restored.

Call CDA today, we have been fighting and winning APS Hearings for years. We’re ready to go to work for you.

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