Issues at a DMV Hearing
There are three things a DMV Hearing Officer must prove to suspend your license:
- Did the peace officer have reasonable cause to believe you were driving a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol?
- Were you lawfully arrested?
- Were you driving a motor vehicle when you had .08% or more, by weight, of alcohol in your blood?
A “preponderance of the evidence” is the standard or hurdle the DMV must get over in order to suspend your driver’s license. It is not much of a hurdle; however, it is much more like speed bump at best. It is the lowest or easiest standard to overcome that exists in law. The Department of Motor Vehicles must find, by a preponderance of the evidence that ALL the answers to the above questions are YES!
A standard can be looked at in terms of a balance of probability. Based on this information, what is the probability that something did or did not occur? Specifically, for Driving Under the Influence of alcohol or drugs, what is the probability, based on this evidence, that you were DUI / DWI (driving under the influence / driving while intoxicated)?
The DMV merely looks at the police reports and if the bare minimum exists to answer the three questions “yes”, they can suspend. That is all a “preponderance of the evidence” requires to allow the DMV to suspend your driving privilege.
This is much different from what we find on the court side of your case. In order to convict you of DUI / DWI on the court side of the case, the judge/jury must find you guilty of DUI / DWI beyond a reasonable doubt.
“beyond a reasonable doubt” is the most difficult standard to prove. It has been defined as not a mere possible doubt. Only after a thorough comparison and consideration of all the evidence, if in the minds of the jurors they cannot say they feel an ABIDING CONVICTION, TO A MORAL CERTAINTY, OF THE TRUTH OF THE CHARGE then they must find the defendant NOT GUILTY. At court the bare minimum would not suffice. The evidence could not be a mere police report, with information provided on the document leaving the police officer with only the responsibility to check off the box to indicate that you were DUI / DWI.
“clear and convincing evidence” is even more difficult than “preponderance of the evidence” to overcome. It is considered the mid-range standard. It is the standard that allows the government to take a person’s children away from them for safety reasons.
You couldn’t take someone’s child away merely on arrest reports or a preponderance of the evidence. A preponderance of the evidence is just too easy a standard to overcome.
The Department of Motor Vehicles does not need much to take your driver’s license / privileges away. A preponderance of the evidence or mere arrest reports and documents is all that are needed to take away your license.