Administrative Hearings

One Way Street Sign

What is an administrative hearing?

If DMV orders a discretionary action against a person’s driving privilege, that person has the right to a hearing before DMV to challenge the action and review the evidence supporting it. (A discretionary action is one where the law permits, but does not require, DMV to order an action).

A person must request a hearing within 10 days of receiving notice of the action against their driving privilege. The hearings are recorded and are conducted by telephone or in person. The hearing is held before a Driver Safety Hearing Officer from DMV.

At the hearing, the driver is informed of the legal grounds for the action, and has the opportunity to review and challenge the evidence of DMV, and to present evidence, witnesses, and testimony to persuade DMV to modify or rescind the action. The rules that control these hearings are found in the California Vehicle Code (CVC), the Government Code (Administrative Procedures Act), and in various Appellate and Supreme Court rulings.

Following the hearing, the Driver Safety Hearing Officer will make a decision to uphold (sustain), modify, or rescind (set aside) the DMV action.

What are my legal rights at a DMV administrative hearing?

You have the right to be represented by an attorney or other representative at your own expense. You are not required to have an attorney represent you. You have the right to review the evidence and to cross examine the testimony of any witnesses for DMV, and to present evidence and witnesses on your own behalf.  You also have the right to testify on your own behalf.

Following the hearing, you have the right to receive a decision in writing. If the decision from the hearing is against you, you have the right to request DMV to conduct an administrative review of the decision, as well as the right to appeal the decision to Superior Court.

On or after January 1, 2003, new legislation authorizes DMV to collect a $120 fee for a departmental review following an Administrative Per Se (APS) hearing. CVC §§13353 and 13353.2 Questions regarding this fee should be directed to the DMV Driver Safety Office where your hearing was conducted.

Requests for the administrative review or to appeal the decision in court must be made within a certain time period dependent on the type of hearing and as described in the Vehicle Code. These time periods and other specific information concerning your rights will be stated on the notice containing the hearing decision.

How do I schedule a hearing?

Check the notice you received advising you of the action against your driving privilege. If the notice indicates you have the right to a hearing, you have 10 days following receipt of the notice to request a hearing.

You may do so by contacting a DMV Driver Safety Office. Be sure to identify yourself by your full name, your driver license number, and your date of birth. You will also be asked to verify your correct mailing address.

What if I need an interpreter?

If you or a witness require a sign or language interpreter, please contact the Driver Safety Office to request that you be paired with an interpreter for the hearing.

What if I do not appear at the hearing?

If you request a hearing and do not attend the hearing, DMV will proceed with the case against you regardless.

Will the hearing location be accessible to persons with disabilities?

Hearing locations are accessible to persons with disabilities. However, you should check with DMV in advance to make sure accessibility is possible.

In addition, if you know someone with special needs who plans to attend your hearing, please contact DMV as soon as possible so that we can make accommodations.

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