Administrative suspension or Admin Per Se suspension is when the DMV suspends your driver’s license immediately upon your DUI arrest, before you have a trial.
One of the most serious penalties for DUI is license suspension. However, most of us would like to believe we’ll get our fair day in court before any penalties are levied against us. In DUI, that’s not always how it works—you can lose your license long before you get a chance to defend yourself. This is called administrative suspension, suspension per se, or admin per se (APS).
APS suspension is an action taken by the California DMV. Since the DMV issues driver’s licenses, it has the right to take them away. This is not an official action of the courts, and not a criminal penalty, which is why the DMV can do it before you get a trial—even if you are never proven guilty. It is considered an administrative action by a bureaucratic body.
When you were arrested, you should have been informed about your suspension. You should also have been told you have 10 days to request a hearing from the DMV. Requesting this hearing has several benefits:
- You may win at the hearing and keep your license.
- Simply requesting the hearing delays the APS process. You might get to keep driving until your trial.
- The hearing is your lawyer’s chance to get testimony from the arresting officer before the trial. This often shows bias or inconsistencies that can help your case.
If you do not request a hearing, your license will go on administrative suspension 30 days after arrest.
Even if you do win the hearing, you can still face license suspension as a criminal penalty if arrested.
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