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What is a Supplemental Report at an APS Hearing?
Anytime a driver is arrested for suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol in the State of California, they face two distinctly separate battles. First, the accused driver must appear in the Superior Court to face a criminal case. Secondly, the driver must face the potential suspension or revocation of his or her driver license by the California Department of Motor Vehicles.
The DMV will seek to administratively suspend or revoke the accused person’s privilege to drive for specified periods of time. There can also be periods of “restriction” attached to a driver license that only permit driving for specified tasks. The DMV can also order the attendance at DUI schools, the payment of re-issuance fees and the requirement for a “high-risk” form of insurance known as an SR-22 Form.
To avoid the suspension or revocation of his or her driver license, the accused driver must schedule, conduct and win an Administrative Hearing before the California Department of Motor Vehicles; Division of Driver Safety. Known as an APS Hearing, these are complicated evidentiary hearings where exhibits are introduced, witnesses testify, evidence is considered and experts render opinions.
When presenting their case, the DMV Hearing Officer will rely primarily on the arresting officer’s sworn report, also known as a DMV Form DS-367. Because the DS-367 is a sworn statement, it falls within the “official duty” section of the Evidence Code and carries as much weight as if the officer were testifying himself. When the DMV created the DS-367, they did not leave much room on the form and therefore, it can often be lacking in necessary information.
If the DMV believes their DS-367 is weak or lacking in information, the hearing officer will often seek to strengthen or clarify the DS-367 by introducing Supplemental Reports. Supplemental reports can come from a variety of sources:
- The arresting officer who writes an additional report to add evidence or clarify information he may have received after the arrest.
- Back-up or partner officers who saw or heard something that may be valuable to the DMV’s case.
- Often the arresting officer is not the person who originally stopped or detained the driver in the first place. A supplemental report may clarify why the driver was originally stopped.
The entire purpose of a supplemental report is to add more information to the DMV’s case.
How Does the DMV Use a Supplemental Report at an APS Hearing?
In the presentation of its case, the DMV is permitted to introduce exhibits, evidence and witnesses to justify the suspension of your driver license. The California Government Code, the Administrative Procedures Act, the California Vehicle Code, the California Evidence Code and the California Code of Regulations, all have specific guidelines and rules controlling how evidence is introduced and accepted into an APS Hearing.
As stated above, the DMV will primarily build its case by introducing the arresting officer’s sworn report, known as a DS-367. If this document is properly prepared and executed, the information contained within the report is presumed trustworthy and the arresting officer need not testify.
In many instances, however, the DS-367 may be incomplete or untimely. There may be problems with the probable cause for stop or the lawfulness of your arrest. If any such problems arise or if the DS-367 is just weak, the hearing officer will often attempt to introduce a separate supplemental report to add clarity to their case.
By its very nature, supplemental reports tend to be just blank sheets of paper that allow the reporting officer a great deal of latitude in his or her writing. Where the DS-367 is a very structured and regimented format that does not allow for much free reign writing, a supplemental report is often quite comprehensive.
Because Supplemental Reports are not generally sworn reports they cannot be used as the primary basis to support a driver license suspension. Current case law permits unsworn supplemental reports to “clarify technical omissions” in the DS-367, but they cannot stand on their own.
The unsworn Supplemental Report is potentially a damaging piece of evidence against you at an APS hearing and can bring clarity to a case that otherwise may have been untrustworthy. Every effort should be made to keep Supplemental Reports out of evidence at your hearing. The DMV Defense Experts from CDA know precisely how to prevent the introduction of a supplemental report into evidence or to limit the information that can be taken from it.
How Do We Fight the Supplemental Report at an APS Hearing?
Because a Supplemental Report can be used to introduce information or evidence into a case that otherwise might not be known, it is critical that these reports be omitted from your hearing. Your DMV Defense Expert must have the training and experience necessary to recognize those instances when the Supplemental Report can be rejected as evidence or when certain portions of the report can be omitted from consideration.
Supplemental Reports are rarely introduced as sworn reports; therefore they generally cannot overcome a hearsay objection unless they can be found to be in substantial compliance with certain provisions of the Evidence Code. Issues such as timeliness and trustworthiness must be carefully scrutinized to discover any means possible to keep this damaging report out of evidence.
Make no mistake, the DMV hearing officer will automatically presume the accuracy of each of their documents and will seek to move them into evidence over the objection of your DMV Defense Expert. The hearing officers would love to conduct APS hearings without any challenge to their process or their authority. If the DMV hearing officers were left to rule with impunity, a lot more people would be without their driver licenses.
Call Us Today. We Will Fight to Keep the Supplemental Report out of Your APS Hearing.
As stated above, DMV Hearing Officers truly enjoy those cases where a driver attempts to defend themselves. The hearing officer has the latitude to overrule the driver and to speak in legal terms that are often confusing. However, when a driver is represented by a DMV Defense Expert from California Drivers Advocates, the hearing officer’s world changes dramatically.
The DMV Defense Experts from CDA have been fighting and winning APS Hearings for many years. Our defense team is comprised of former police officers, former DMV hearing officers, investigators and scientists. Our commanding knowledge of the DMV is built on years of training, experience and reputation. We know the DMV and they know us. There is no chance of the hearing officer talking circles around us because we speak their language. Call us today. We’re ready to go to work for you.