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FAQs About The Admin Per Se Hearings

What Is The Admin Per Se Hearing For Suspension In California?

Several years ago, Mothers Against Drunk Driving decided that they’d had enough of courts letting people go while their case was going on. People would continue to drive; people with serious alcohol problems were going out and they were getting more DUIs, resulting in serious injuries or fatalities. This was true in cases where someone who got a DUI case going on, didn’t get help or do something about their drinking problem.

The courts were not necessarily equipped back then with a lot of different devices to keep people from drinking, but these days they are.

Therefore, the whole Admin Per Se process is not necessary anymore but they are not getting rid of it because now the courts can require someone to be on alcohol monitoring, and ankle bracelets, and they can tell them that they can’t be driving.

The Admin Per Se process is a civil procedure where the burden of proof is more likely to be 51%, not beyond a reasonable doubt like in a criminal case. The civil Admin Per Se hearing is something that everyone who is arrested for a DUI with a blood alcohol level of 0.08 or higher will receive a temporary license when they are arrested. It’s usually the pink copy that they get, also called the Pink Sheet. It’s good for 30 days of driving.

As long as you or your lawyer request a hearing within 10 days of arrest, you can have a hearing to determine whether or not the DMV is going to take away your license. That hearing won’t happen for 30 days, often it takes months and months to have the hearing as they continue to look for discovery and other reasons.

There are typically three issues at the hearing and those issues are on the back of the pink sheet. The basic questions are, did the officer have proper cause to pull you over; were you lawfully arrested and were you at a 0.08 blood alcohol level or greater at the time of driving? If those three issues can be met by the DMV, by preponderance of the evidence, then the DMV will suspend your license for 4 months. After one month of no driving, you can usually get a restricted license.

This branches off into a lot of different things. There are small counties in California where if you get convicted in the court, you’d have to do an interlock device. After one month of no driving, you do 5 months of interlock driving.

The DMV of the Admin Per Se hearing does not trigger the interlock device, even in the Pilot counties, that’s four Pilot counties, for a first DUI. People feel that the Admin Per Se hearing is very unfair because the person who conducts the hearing is a DMV employee, it’s someone who is a hearing officer. They do not receive the legal training that attorneys do. They are DMV employees who work their way up the system. Some are very good hearing officers and some are not and they act as the prosecutor and they also act as the judge. Those are two different hats and it’s too hard to be an impartial hearing officer if you’re also acting as the prosecutor. That’s one of the main reasons people don’t like DMV hearings.

The Admin Per Se hearings are not necessary anymore because the whole reason behind them was to keep potential dangerous drivers off the road while their hearings and court cases are pending. However, through the continuance procedure, people get to keep driving, their license is extended beyond the 30 days as long as someone requests a hearing within 10 days of arrest.

The courts are very capable of putting conditions on people who go to court shortly after their arrest; it’s within 10 days to 2 weeks at some places while at other places, it’s usually about a month.

If it’s a repeat offense or really high blood alcohol level, someone that the judge thinks is a danger and they may do it again, the court may put conditions like wearing an ankle bracelet, blood alcohol monitoring, or having an ignition interlock device in the vehicle while the case is going on.

The courts are allowed to do that. But just to say that the courts being able to do that and have that authority instead of having DMV do this, would save California hundreds of millions if not potentially billions of dollars. That’s because if you think about the number of people that go into these hearings, the hours that are spent on those not just by the hearing officers but the staff, police officers, and others who are subpoenaed and the attorneys, it’s got to be in the hundreds of millions that would be saved if the courts are allowed to do what they’re capable of doing with the devices that they now have.

If you need more information about the Admin Per Se Hearings, call the Law Offices of Aaron Bortel for a free initial consultation at (415) 523-7878 and get the information and legal answers you’re seeking.

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Aaron Bortel
With 30 years of specialized experience in DUI defense, Attorney Aaron Bortel is a dedicated advocate for those facing DUI charges in the Bay Area. Committed to helping clients avoid jail, save their driver’s licenses and jobs, and prevent permanent criminal records, he combines deep legal expertise with genuine care for his client's welfare. Trust in a lawyer who not only defends but truly supports you through challenging times.

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