Interviewer: When accused of DUI in California, you face an administrative hearing- separate from the criminal case, regarding the potential loss of your driver’s license. What happens at this hearing?
Steve: That is a very good question. Essentially, this preceding is an administrative hearing, and it is an administrative suspension. The DMV calls this preceding an administrative per se suspension.
It is known among drunk driving practitioners as a “stop and snatch” situation. This is because you are essentially stopped and detained. Then, they snatch your driver’s license from you after you have been arrested. They just confiscate it and take it away from you.
Then they hand you a pink piece of paper entitled “Administrative Per Se Suspension Notice of Suspension and Temporary Driver’s License.” It is a very important document.
Unfortunately, it is almost comical in a sense. This is because it is supposed to be served to the person by the arresting officer. However, more often than not it is left in the belongings of the person, at the jail.
When they are released, it is one of the pieces of paper they are given. It is among the notice to appear, inventory of their personal property and bail papers.
The person is inundated with papers, and a lot of them are crinkled. Most of the time, you cannot even read the Administrative Per Se Suspension document because it is a carbon copy of the document. It does not always come through on the person’s paper.
Still, it is an important document that should be reviewed very carefully by the person. Yet that person, when released from jail, is not in the best frame of mind. A lot of people just do not read it.
Importantly, the document has a 10 day requirement. It also has the length of time for the suspension. For our purposes, let’s assume this is the person’s first arrest for driving under the influence of alcohol.
We apply the following principles: the DMV is contacted within 10 days; the hearing is set up, and the discovery is obtained. Discovery is called DS-367 or Department of Public Safety 367. It is a document signed, under the penalty of perjury, by the arresting officer with the information. Essentially, the DMV needs to quickly suspend somebody’s driver’s license.
It is a document prepared by a police officer in the normal course of his duties, contemporaneously with the event. It is supposed to be reliable. Again, it is signed under the penalty of perjury
That document is admitted into evidence by the hearing officer. More often than not, the document in itself is sufficient to allow the DMV to suspend the driver’s license administratively. It is suspended for 120 days if that person took a test and the results were 0.08 or more.
There are two scenarios at a DMV hearing for a person arrested for DUI for the first time. The first scenario is that person took a chemical test, and the results of the chemical test were a 0.08 or more. The second scenario is the person allegedly refused to take the test. We will talk about each of those.
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