Skip to Content

DMV Win in Under 21 Case


The DMV in California has a zero tolerance policy for under 21 year olds who drink and drive. Any measurable amount of alcohol leads to a mandatory one year license suspension for a first offender. Even a .01% reading on a preliminary breath test device will lead to a suspension. Because of this, it is very difficult to win DMV hearings for clients under 21 years of age.

However, in circumstances where the police rely on a preliminary breath test reading, commonly referred to as the PAS device, case law requires that the DMV establish that the machine was operated properly, by a qualified officer and that it was working correctly at the time. Normally, this requires testimony both from the officer who operated the device and from an officer responsible for performing accuracy checks on the device.

I won a hearing for an under 21 year old client last week on the basis that the manufacturers guidelines for the PAS device suggest that two readings should be taken as a quality control measure and that the readings should be within .02% The official position of the DMV is that the police need only take one reading. My expert, Henry Greenberg testified that one reading is not reliable and not in accordance with the manufacturers guidelines and the DMV hearing officer set aside the suspension.

Winning the DMV hearing in a DUI case is often the priority for clients living in Los Angeles and Orange Counties where public transport is limited. At Gold & Witham, we invest as much energy into winning the DMV hearing as being successful in court.