Saturday, March 8, 2014

DMV Appeal For DUI Suspension

The law in California allows a person to appeal an adverse DMV decision for APS hearings.  The technical name for the appeal is called a departmental review.  Thousands of hearings are conducted every month throughout the state for driving above a .08 or refusal to submit to a chemical test such as blood of breath.  The consensus among attorneys handling these types of cases is that the odds are generally against the licensee.  With that being said, there are instances when the DMV takes away someone's driving privilege without a sufficient legal basis and it is in these cases when an appeal is appropriate.

The framework of an administrative hearing, commonly referred to as an APS, is quite complex and not easy to understand from the lay men's perspective.  For starters, the same person that is assigned to be the judge is also appointed as the prosecutor and jury, for lack of a better word.  This inherent conflict gives rise to many bad decisions that are influenced by a lack of objectivity.  Many would argue that the system needs to be revamped to allow a neutral fact finder to oversee the proceedings, but these attempts have all been shot down by the Department.

So, back to the topic of an administrative appeal.  First, the review itself must be requested within 14 days of the final decision by the hearing officer.  Failure to comply with this time deadline is fatal to the appeal.  Second, the cost to file an appeal of a APS decision is $120.  This fee is non refundable even if the appeal goes in the drivers favor.  Once the review is filed it often takes several weeks to complete.  The file is sent to Sacramento along with a copy of the tape recorded hearing.

Any administrative reviews are denied, the DMV will not allow for new evidence or witnesses to be presented.  The evidence that was submitted at the hearing is what is considered, period.  For hearings held in El Segundo California, the process usually takes a couple weeks and the drivers license suspension will not be stayed pending the review .

I hope this article is helpful to those considering filing a appeal for a license suspension for DUI, driving with a .08 or higher and refusal cases.