What is a “Zero-Tolerance” at the DMV?
What is a “Zero-Tolerance” at the DMV?
As stated in other chapters of this site, the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is the state agency with the power to grant a driving privilege to drivers within the State of California. What few drivers realize however, is the nearly unbridled power the DMV possesses to also remove a person’s driving privilege.
There are a myriad of reasons the DMV may suspend, revoke or withdraw a person’s driving privilege. One of the most powerful cases for the DMV to suspend or revoke a driving privilege is for those drivers who fall under the “Zero-Tolerance” provisions of the California Vehicle Code (CVC).
Zero-Tolerance refers to two categories of drivers who are not permitted to operate a motor vehicle, at any time, with ANY alcohol in their body. The two categories affected by “Zero-Tolerance” are:
- Any driver who is on DUI probation.
- Any driver who is under the age of 21 years.
In this section, we focus on drivers who are under the age of 21. California Vehicle Code section 23136 (a) provides……….
Notwithstanding Sections 23152 and 23153, it is unlawful for a 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.
This section of the law is not ambiguous in any way. It clearly mandates that any driver, who has not achieved the age of 21 years, must not drive a motor vehicle with ANY measurable amount of alcohol in their body….. Period.
Most of these issues begin with a young driver being stopped by a law enforcement officer for a moving violation, or when a young driver is contacted by a law enforcement officer during the investigation of a traffic collision. If during that contact, the law enforcement officer suspects that an under 21 driver has consumed any alcohol whatsoever, the officer may require the driver to blow into a Preliminary Alcohol Screening (PAS) device right at the side of the road. The officer only need establish that he had a reason to suspect the driver had been drinking. He is not required to establish that the driver was impaired; as is required in a DUI case.
If the driver refuses to blow into the PAS device, or if he or she does blow and registers 0.01% or greater, the officer is authorized to seize the person’s driver license, issue them a citation and to store (tow) the driver’s vehicle. The law enforcement officer will provide the driver with a pink colored DMV Form DS-367M. Also known as an Under Age 21 Officer’s Statement, this is an important document. The DS-367M serves three functions:
- Notifies the driver that the DMV intends to suspend or revoke their driver license.
- Notifies the driver they may drive for 30 days (provided their original license was valid).
- Notifies the driver that if they wish to prevent the suspension or revocation of their driver license, contact must be made with the DMV within 10-days.
Many young drivers will not realize the importance of the DS-367M and will not be aware of the “10-Day Rule.” If a driver fails to contact the DMV in a timely manner, they waive their right to a hearing and the one-year suspension of their driver license is virtually assured. You simply must contact the DMV within 10-Days.
For an under 21 driver who faces the suspension or revocation of their driving privilege for a “Zero-Tolerance” issue, making timely contact with the DMV is a critical first step. We are often asked if the driver can make contact with the DMV on their own, and the honest answer is yes. A driver has the absolute right to contact the DMV on their own. The driver may schedule their own hearing and may even conduct their own hearing if they choose. Even though you have the right to deal with the DMV on your own, it is rarely a good idea. The DMV process and all of their employees are not your friend. They are not there to assist you in protecting your driving privilege and will do nothing to educate you on the process of winning a DMV hearing. You will be very much on your own dealing with a State agency that wants to suspend your license to drive.
The DMV Defense Experts are California Drivers Advocates have been scheduling, planning and conducting “Zero-Tolerance” hearings at the DMV for many years. Our proven method of scheduling a DMV hearing includes both telephonic and written contact so that nothing “falls through the cracks.” If your driving privilege is something you can’t afford to lose, telephone CDA today. Let us schedule your “Zero Tolerance” hearing. We’re ready to assist you in regaining your driving freedom.
There is no question that a “Zero-Tolerance” hearing for an under 21 driver is a tremendous challenge. In the beginning, the DMV has all the control; they hold all the cards. The DMV hearing officer is allowed to presume the law enforcement officer had a lawful reason to stop or detain you. They are also allowed to presume the accuracy of the PAS test or other chemical test. To be blunt, a “Zero-Tolerance” hearing may seem an impossible task.
The reality, however, is that many of these hearings can be won. The path to winning a “Zero-Tolerance” hearing can be long, confusing, and frustrating. In fact, most young drivers will find it impossible to deal with the DMV on their own. After many years, the DMV Defense Experts at California Drivers Advocates have built a reputation for excellence that provides our clients the very best opportunity to preserve their driving privilege.
The process of handling a “Zero-Tolerance” hearing at the DMV is very similar to what we use at an APS Hearing following an arrest for DUI. The steps we use are:
This is a tried and true method for winning a Zero-Tolerance hearing. Anything less is just a waste of your time and money.
Facing a “Zero Tolerance” Hearing at the DMV? Call Us, We Can Help.
We’ve all been told a thousand times that driving in California is a privilege, not a right. The courts, however, have ruled many times that once the privilege to drive is granted, it becomes a vested right that requires “Procedural Due Process” to remove. This means that the DMV must justify the suspension or revocation of a person’s driving privilege and that the accused driver has the right to fight for themselves.
If the DMV has focused on you and intends to suspend or revoke your driver license, don’t let them do so without a fight. The DMV Defense Experts from California Drivers Advocates conduct hundreds of DMV Hearings each year. Many of those are “zero tolerance” hearings for young drivers and many of those are won. Our method, our reputation, and our attention to your concerns make us the best choice to fight your battle. Give us a call; we’re ready to step into your case.
More about Administrative Per Se (DUI) Hearings at the California DMV