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Winning an Administrative Per Se Hearing at the DMV

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DMV Administrative Per Se Hearing

As explained in other chapters of the this site, the California Legislature has enacted a series of laws which order the immediate suspension of a person’s driving privilege if they are arrested for suspicion of Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol (DUI). Known as the Administrative Per Se Laws (APS), a driver is presumed impaired if they drive a motor vehicle with a blood/alcohol concentration of .08% or greater. Different BAC levels apply to under age drivers, drivers who are on DUI probation, or commercial drivers when operating a commercial vehicle.

Once the APS suspension process has begun, there is only one way for a driver to recover their driving privilege. The accused driver should retain the services of a DUI Defense Expert to schedule, conduct, and hopefully win an APS Hearing. APS Hearings are complicated legal proceedings that require a great deal of training and experience. Many attorneys will not conduct an APS hearing because they are so complicated and contradictory. The DMV Defense Experts from California Drivers Advocates (CDA) excel in all forms of DMV hearings, including APS hearings. No driver should attempt to conduct one of these hearings on their own. Call us, we can help.

Can I Win an Administrative Per Se (APS) Hearing?

The short answer is emphatically YES! There is no question that an APS Hearing is the most difficult of all the administrative hearings to win, but proper investigation of the facts and professional representation by a DMV Defense Expert can absolutely result in the DMV ruling in your favor.

At one of the these hearings, the DMV hearing officer is not only permitted, but is instructed to presume that everything contained within the police reports is true and the blood/alcohol concentration is accurate.   Essentially this means that the hearing officer will presume you are guilty of drunk driving and then challenge you to prove them wrong. Shockingly, this process does not presume your innocence the way a court does.

At an APS hearing, the hearing officer possesses all the power. They are the Prosecutor, the Judge, the Jury and the Executioner. The hearing officer is permitted to rule on their own objections and is permitted move evidence into the hearing at will. They grant themselves continuances on a whim and work aggressively to limit a driver’s ability to maneuver. It truly is a one-sided event.

To overcome the abuse of an APS hearing, and to have any hope of winning, requires the knowledge and experience of a DMV Defense Expert. It is not enough to understand the law. Your expert must have deep lines of experience and the resilience to keep fighting for you even when the odds are against him. The DMV Defense Experts at CDA include former police officers, former DMV hearing officers, investigators and forensic scientists. We have the experience. We have the training and the will to keep fighting.

In too many instances, a driver will enter an APS hearing believing in the American promise of justice. He or she will walk into the hearing believing he can simply have a chat with the hearing officer to explain their side of the story. This could not be further from the truth. There are also times when a driver will enlist the assistance of an attorney who has little DMV experience, but believes that he or she can handle an APS hearing. After all, “it’s just the DMV………Right?” Trust me; a DMV hearing officer will eat his lunch.

When a driver walks into the hearing officer’s domain, there is a presumption of guilt and the hearing officer feels comfortable that it will be a quick meeting. When that same driver walks in the door with a DMV Defense Expert from California Drivers Advocates (CDA), the hearing officer’s attitude changes immediately. They know they are in for a fight and they’ll have to bring their “A” game to win. An APS hearing can be won, but they’re tough. Don’t leave anything to chance. Call CDA today!

How to Win an Administrative Per Se (APS) Hearing at the DMV

A properly conducted Administrative Per Se (APS) hearing requires the orchestration of several moving pieces. An APS hearing is a full-blown evidentiary hearing. Exhibits are introduced, evidence is admitted, testimony is given, arguments are made and experts offer opinions. Essentially, an APS hearing is a “mini-trial” convened before the Department of Motor Vehicles/Division of Driver Safety.

If a driver enters an APS hearing ill prepared to object to the DMV’s exhibits, or if he or she is not prepared to present their own “affirmative” evidence, the hearing will be a practice in futility. The hearing will be a loss.

If there is a single word that describes the path to winning an APS hearing, that word is “thorough.” Your DMV Defense Expert must be thorough in all he does, or you’re just wasting your time.

The DMV Defense Experts from CDA have developed a four-step process to winning an APS hearing:

  • A thorough investigation of the case, the facts, and the evidence.
  • A thorough preparation for the hearing including the preparation of evidence and witnesses.
  • A thorough presentation at the hearing to ensure all objections are made and that all “Affirmative Evidence” and witness testimony is accepted by the hearing officer.
  • A thorough follow-thru once the hearing has concluded.

Thorough representation at an APS hearing is not what we preach; it’s what we practice. With extensive back-grounds in law enforcement, DMV hearings, investigations and science; the DMV Defense Experts from CDA will give you the best opportunity to win your APS Hearing.


Call CDA today. We’re ready to begin the work to win your APS Hearing.

The president of CDA has directed that each of our clients receive “white glove” service and treatment throughout their experience with us. From the moment you make your first call to CDA, we work diligently to make you feel that you’re the only client we have and that your driving privilege is as important to us as it is to you.

Being represented by an expert is one thing. Being represented by a true DMV Defense Expert with deep lines of experience and training, who actually cares about your future; is something entirely different. Call us. Let us provide you the guidance and caring that you need.

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