SUMMARY: Once an APS hearing is scheduled, a Los Angeles DMV hearing officer is appointed and all decisions about continuances are up to him or her. A request for a continuance have to be put in writing and faxed to the DMV as soon as a reason for the continuance is learned. For example, if a necessary witness is not available to testify for the hearing, a request to continue the hearing should be faxed to the hearing officer stating that (1) a necessary witness is not available on the day of the hearing and (2) the respondent only learned about the unavailability recently.
THE LAW: The APS hearings are authorized and governed by Vehicle Code Sections 13558 and 14100-14111. Those statutes do not address continuances but instead point to “California Administrative Procedure Act” located at California Government Code 11400 et seq. as the law that shall govern all issues not addressed by VC 135558, and 14100-14111. California Government Code Section 11524 seem to answer the question of a continuance by stating
“When seeking a continuance, a party shall apply for the continuance within 10 working days following the time the party discovered or reasonably should have discovered the event or occurrence which establishes the good cause for the continuance. A continuance may be granted for good cause after the 10 working days have lapsed if the party seeking the continuance is not responsible for and has made a good faith effort to prevent the condition or event establishing the good cause.”
Also, California Government Code Section 11450.20 states that a party requesting a continuance based upon the failure of a witness to appear must prove that a subpoena was issued and served.
Case law also explain that an officer being on vacation is not a good enough reason for a continuance (Arnett v. Office of Admin Hearings 49 Cal.App.4th 332), and dumping discovery at the last minute on respondent is a good enough reason for a continuance (Petrus v. DMV April 2011 decision).
Lastly, it was pointed out recently in a discussion that the hearing officers will occasionally cite as authority for continuing or “reconvening” the hearing Vehicle Code