DMV Zero Tolerance Hearings

zero tolerance hearing

What are Zero Tolerance Hearings?

In some instances, California Law permits the DMV to suspend the driving privilege of a person who drives with “ANY” alcohol in their blood stream. Classically, this section of the law applies in two instances:

  1. The accused driver is under the age of 21.
  2. The accused driver is currently on court ordered probation for a previous conviction of DUI.

A Zero Tolerance Hearing is where you fight to preserve your driving privilege.

 

 

What Happens if I don’t set a Zero Tolerance Hearing?

The law here is specific, the DMV is required to suspend or revoke the driver license of any person under the age of 21, who is arrested or detained for driving with a measurable amount of alcohol in their blood. A zero tolerance hearing provides the accused driver the opportunity to fight to maintain their driving privilege. Failing to attend, or even establish a zero tolerance hearing will result in the automatic loss of your privilege to drive…… period!

  • Loss of Driver’s License
  • Increase in insurance rates
  • Inability to Work & Provide Income

How to Protect my Driving Privilege when facing a Zero Tolerance Hearing?

Contact a Team of Professionals, NOW!!!.

The DMV’s policy is to complete zero tolerance hearings quickly and to make immediate decisions about your driving privilege. If a police officer has seized your driver license for Zero Tolerance, you typically only have 10 days to contact the DMV.  The DMV will not set up your hearing for you; it is your obligation to make the initial contact.  Most importantly, an accused person should contact a professional team to set up their zero tolerance hearing in a timely manner. Once your zero tolerance hearing is scheduled, your professional defense team can go to work establishing a quality defense. Don’t wait, time is not on your side.

 

How We Help A Client facing Zero Tolerance Hearings?

Our professional team has been representing clients at zero tolerance hearings for decades. We know the process and what it takes to be successful in a zero tolerance hearing. We will examine documents, interview witnesses, and subpoena video and audio tapes. We will subpoena calibration and maintenance logs on breath devices and, in some instances, may subpoena the officer to the hearing. We will prepare for and conduct your hearing similar to a “mini trial.”DO NOT trust your case with a less experienced team as it may result in the Loss of Your Driving Privilege.

zero tolerance hearing
It is critical that you be represented by an Administrative Advocate or attorney to insure that the Hearing Officer correctly considers all of the evidence during your zero tolerance hearing.[/
What is the General Timeline with Zero Tolerance Hearings?

 

0
percent of our clients have their zero tolerance hearing scheduled within the required 10 days.
0
percent of our clients maintain the ability to drive after their first zero tolerance hearing.
0
percent of our clients maintain their ability to drive after their 2nd zero tolernace hearing within 45 days.
0
percent of clients still have some ability to drive after the completion of their zero tolernace hearings.

 

In limited instances, California Law permits the DMV to suspend the driving privilege of a person who drives with “ANY” alcohol in their blood. The hearing to protect your privilege is called the zero tolerance hearing. Classically, this section of the law applies in two instances:

  1. The driver is under the age of 21 and, therefore, not permitted to drive with any measurable amount of alcohol in their blood.
  2. The driver is currently on court ordered probation for a previous conviction of DUI.

The “Under Age” Driver
California Vehicle Code (CVC) Section 23136, establishes stricter “zero tolerance” requirements and penalties for drivers who are under 21. California Law specifically prohibits persons under 21 from consuming alcohol, at all.

“…it is unlawful for any person under the age of 21 years who has a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.01 percent or greater, as measured by a preliminary alcohol screening test or other chemical test, to drive a vehicle.”

The law here is specific, the DMV is required to suspend or revoke the driver license of any person under 21, who is lawfully arrested or detained and when:

  • The driver submits to an Preliminary Alcohol Screen (PAS) Test, or any other chemical test (blood or urine), that establishes an alcohol level of .01% or more, or
  • The underage driver refuses to take or fails to complete a PAS test or other chemical test.

Understand that an arrest for DUI is not required. If a police officer has “Probable Cause” to contact the underage driver and detects the presence of alcohol, the officer is permitted to direct the driver to blow into a hand-held PAS device. If that driver blows into the device and registers “any” alcohol, the law is violated.  If the driver refuses to submit to a test as required by the officer, this section of the law is also violated and the DMV will move to suspend the license.

The law does require that the testing shall be incidental to a lawful arrest or detention and must be administered at the direction of a peace officer having reasonable cause to believe the person was driving. A zero tolerance hearing is the opportunity to present your own facts and to rebut the allegation.

There are several opportunities to defend against a suspension. Appropriate attacks on the probable cause to contact the driver may be successful. Attacks on the “reasonable cause” by which the officer establishes actual driving, justifies a detention; or, that the driver had been drinking may be successful. Also, if the only evidence of alcohol use is the results of a PAS test, certain foundational requirements must be established to introduce the alcohol level into evidence. A professional team at your zero tolerance hearing can ensure the best defense. In many instances, you can be put back on the road by way of a zero tolerance hearing.

The “Probationary” Driver
California Vehicle Code (CVC) Section 23154, establishes “zero tolerance” alcohol standards for those persons who are currently on court ordered probation for a previous DUI conviction and, are found to be driving with alcohol in their blood stream.

“It is unlawful for a person who is on probation for a violation of Section 23152 or 23153 to operate a motor vehicle at any time with a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.01 percent or greater, as measured by a preliminary alcohol screening test or other chemical test.”

As with the underage driver, a new arrest for DUI is not required for this section of the law to be violated. When a person is convicted, or enters a plea of guilty or nolo contendre, to a previous charge of VC 23152 (misdemeanor DUI) or VC 23153 (felony DUI), that person is almost always placed on court ordered probation. In all instances when a driver is placed on probation, he is assigned a series of probationary tasks or standards that must be followed. Among several other requirements, there is specific language that a probationary driver shall not drive with any alcohol in their blood stream. If you are accused of such a violation, a zero tolerance hearing may save your driver license.

Depending on the action taken by the police officer, you may not have any criminal charges pending; however, you do still have a battle remaining with the DMV. The solution is a zero tolerance hearing. You have a right to protect yourself at a zero tolerance hearing, but the DMV has no obligation to help you begin the process. You are on your own to establish the zero tolerance hearing but we can help.

As is common in many aspects of DMV hearings, you have a specific obligation to contact the DMV and to request your zero tolerance hearing within the first10 calendar days following your arrest or detention on a “zero-tolerance” issue. Using the above scenario, the officer may not arrest you but the DMV suspension will stand alone whether or not the court moves to violate your probation. Any action taken by the DMV is independent of the court. Don’t assume that because you were not arrested, your license is safe. IT IS NOT!!! A zero tolerance hearing is your only option to protect your driving privilege.

The zero-tolerance hearing is conducted at a regional office for the DMV called the Driver Safety Office. The procedures for the hearing are identical to those followed in a standard Administrative Per Se (APS) Hearing, following a DUI arrest. In this zero tolerance hearing however, the hearing officer has the burden to prove the following:

  • The driver was under 21  at the time of the arrest or detention; or, the driver was on probation for a previous DUI conviction at the time;
  • The driver was actually driving;
  • The arresting or detaining peace officer had reasonable cause to contact the driver;
  • Following contact with the driver, the officer had reasonable cause to arrest or detain that person;
  • That the accused driver blew a 0.01 percent alcohol concentration on a PAS device or other chemical test; or the driver refused to submit to a chemical test.

It may sound like the DMV holds all the cards and, in some instances, they do. But very often, a quality defense can be prepared which attacks any one or all of the elements at the Zero Tolerance Hearing.

If the DMV is Your Problem, California Drivers Advocates is Your Solution!!!

Please contact us if you recently got a DUI, a notice of suspension or you just have a question about the DMV or your driving privelge.

We’ll be happy to answer your questions at no cost or obligation. If we can’t help, we’ll at least tell you about your other options.

All submissions are confidential. Our team typically replies within 24 hours.