You Should Have A Defense Attorney

There are a variety of reasons why the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) may take action on your license and try to suspend or revoke your driving privileges. If you live and work in Southern California and San Diego, you know that your ability to drive is crucial to maintain your livelihood and lifestyle. Losing your privilege to drive can make even the simplest tasks- like buying groceries or dropping your kids off at school- a nightmare. The DMV does not worry about how difficult your life can become if you lose your license- but San Diego defense attorney Jennifer Gerstenzang does.

At a DMV hearing the Department- represented by one hearing officer- acts as both the prosecutor and the judge in determining whether or not you keep your California license. The odds are already stacked against you.

Representing yourself often leads to unsuccessful results. Furthermore, if your DMV hearing is related to a vehicle code violation and you have an upcoming court date you may be making admissions that can hurt you in your court case. Remember, any statements you make can be used against you by the prosecution in the court case.

For these reasons it is wise to have an experienced defense attorney by your side to prepare you for and to handle your hearing. At Gerstenzang Law we take these hearings as seriously as you do and fight passionately for you to keep your license.


There are various reasons the DMV may try to suspend or revoke your license. It may be because of a DUI arrest. It may be because an officer cited you for a moving violation. It may be because your doctor reported a medical condition you have such as seizures or blackouts. The DMV has the ability to suspend or revoke your license as long as good cause exists for this action. Good cause may be Driving Under the Influence Allegations, Negligent Driving or being a Negligent Operator, or for medical reasons.

If you do not request a hearing then you waive your right to the hearing and the DMV can suspend your license. For this reason it is imperative that you contact an experienced San Diego defense attorney like Jennifer Gerstenzang. She can handle your DMV hearing from start to finish, including making the initial request for the hearing.


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DMV penalties for a DUI In San Diego
DMV Consequences Infographic - Click for larger view.

If you are arrested for a DUI in San Diego you will have both the Prosecutor and the DMV taking action against you. The prosecutor files the criminal charges against you and prosecutes you in state court. The DMV takes action against your privilege to drive. If you are arrested for a DUI, the officer will give you a date to appear in court. For the DMV, however, the burden is on you to request the DMV hearing within 10 days of your arrest. Otherwise, your license can be taken away without an opportunity to contest the suspension.

When you are arrested for a DUI the officer immediately takes your driver’s license and hands you a pink sheet of paper. This piece of paper is personal and formal notice of your license suspension and serves as a temporary driver’s license that is valid for thirty days.

Once you are given this pink sheet of paper you only have 10 days to call the DMV Driver’s Safety Office to request your Administrative Per Se (APS) hearing. If you fail to contact the DMV your license will be suspended when the thirty day temporary license expires.

APS hearings are held at a Driver Safety Office of the DMV. In San Diego the Driver Safety Offices are located on Frazee Road near Fashion Valley Mall and in Poway right next to the Poway DMV. The hearings take place in the offices of the Hearing Officers. The hearings are recorded. Hearing Officers are DMV employees who play the dual role of prosecutor and the judge in the hearings.

However, DMV hearings are not criminal proceedings. Therefore, you are not entitled to the same constitutional protections as you are in a courtroom. This means that if you are at the hearing the hearing officer can call you as a witness and you do not have a Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate yourself. The hearing officer is also allowed to consider hearsay statements including the police officer’s arrest report when making its decision. The audio recordings are preserved and can be used in your criminal prosecution. In criminal cases the prosecution has to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt, while in the DMV hearing the standard is proof by a preponderance of evidence.

Because DMV hearings are considered civil- not criminal- in nature you are not entitled to legal representation. You will not have a public defender available to represent you. You do have a right to present a defense, call witnesses and experts, and subpoena the arresting police officer. Without legal representation, however, preparing and executing your defense can be very difficult.

You have a lot to lose at a DMV hearing. Do not waste the opportunity you have at a DMV hearing to subpoena records, officers, maintenance and calibration records, and other evidentiary tools by trying to handle the hearing yourself. Gerstenzang Law is practiced, prepared, and proven to give you stellar representation and to exploit the weaknesses in the DMV’s case. Call her to find out more.


California’s "Zero Tolerance" law allows the DMV to suspend the driver’s license of drivers under the age of 21 who drive with any measurable amount of alcohol in his or her system. In other words, a driver under the age of 21 who has a blood alcohol level of .01% or greater as measured by a Preliminary Alcohol Screening test or a chemical test will have their license suspended for one year. If the driver does not yet have a license, their ability to get a license will be postponed by one year.

Often times the police department only uses the Preliminary Alcohol Screening (PAS) test in order to obtain a blood alcohol level. This test is believed by the courts to be less reliable than other tests and therefore the DMV is required to put forth specific information to establish the reliability of the instruments. Often times, the DMV is unable to do this. However, unless you know the necessary objections and arguments to raise the DMV will be able to admit these results into evidence.

Gerstenzang Law can effectively defend your driving privilege by raising the crucial issues at your hearing and arguing for you to keep your license.