California Administrative Per Se – FACTS

California Administrative Per Se – FACTS


Prepared by DMV Research and Development Branch 11/13/98

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In 1990, California became the 28th state to implement an immediate
driver license suspension law also referred to as an “Administrative Per
Se (APS)” or “on-the-spot” license suspension law The California APS law
requires the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to suspend or revoke the
driving privilege of persons who are driving with a blood alcohol
concentration (BAC) of .08% or more, or who refuse a chemical test upon
arrest. In January 1994 California implemented a companion driver license
suspension law, known as the “zero tolerance law,” which requires DMV to
suspend for one year any driver under age 21 with a BAC of .01 % or more
as measured by a preliminary alcohol screening test, or who refuses or
fails to complete the test. These administrative actions are independent
of any criminal penalties imposed in court for conviction of the
driving-under-the-influence (DUI) offense. Upon arrest, or detention (as
applicable in the .01% APS law), the driver’s license is immediately
confiscated and an order of suspension or revocation served.

For either law, due process is allowed by the issuance of a 30-day
temporary license intended to provide the driver with sufficient time to
challenge the suspension through DMV administrative review. The time
allowed to challenge the suspension was reduced from 45 days on July 1,
1993. As of January 1, 1993, offenders who are dismissed for insufficient
evidence or are never charged by the court may request an APS dismissal
hearing to consider setting aside the associated APS action. Under the
.08% APS’ law, when a driver submits to and “fails” a BAC test and has no
prior DUI convictions or APS actions (within 7 years), a 4-month license
suspension Is imposed. Following, 30 days of “hard” suspension, and
providing they first demonstrate proof of insurance, show proof of
enrollment in an alcohol treatment program, and pay all penalty fees, the
law provides for such drivers to obtain either a 60-day restricted
license to drive to and from an alcohol treatment program, or (as of
January 1, 1995) a 5-month restricted license which also allows driving
to, from, and during the course of employment A 1-year suspension is
imposed on drivers having one, or more prior DUI convictions or APS
actions within 7 years, with no provision for a restricted license.

Under this law, for offenders refusing a BAC test, a 1-year license
suspension Is imposed for a first offense, a 2-year revocation Is imposed
for a second offense, and a 3-year revocation is imposed for a third or
subsequent offense (within 7 years). There are no provisions for issuance
of a restricted license following a BAC test refusal.

The .01% BAC law requires a 1-year suspension and provides for: a
hardship restriction only if the preliminary breath test was completed
and the driver can demonstrate a critical need to drive.

To prevent undue hardship, a commercial driver arrested in a
noncommercial vehicle and having no prior DUI convictions or APS actions
Isaliowed to drive to, from, and during the course of employment
following a 30-day “hard” suspension. (A noncommercial vehicle is one not
requiring a commercial driver license, or heavy-vehicle operator’s
license, to drive.) A commnercial driver arrested for DUI while driving
In a commercial vehicle receives a 1-year “hard”suspension

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