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 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.
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.
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, they must find you guilty of DUI / DWI Beyond a Reasonable Doubt.
Beyond A Reasonable Doubt is the most difficult standard to prove. Is 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 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. Preponderance of the Evidence is just to 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 more arrest reports and documents is all that is needed to take away your license.