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When You Need To Subpoena DMV Witnesses And Documents

A subpoena is the document you use to get a witness either to send documents to your hearing or to appear personally to testify. The Department of Motor Vehicles has made the subpoena process easy in theory, though in practice, it can be more difficult to get witnesses to actually respond. Prior to the date of the hearing, you fill out a DMV subpoena form and mail it to the person or agency by first class mail. If you subpoena a public employee to appear, you must prepay a deposit of $150 to the agency that employs them.

The Fine Print

Section 14104.5 and Government Code Section 11450.20 both require an administrative agency to issue subpoenas to require the attendance of witnesses and the production of documents at the request of any party appearing at a hearing. Section 14104.5 requires the subpoenas to be issued “[b]efore a hearing has commenced … ” Any witnesses may request that you pay them in advance for mileage and fees (Government Code Section 11450.40). If the witness is an employee of a public agency, you must compensate the agency for the witness’s time, beginning with the prepayment of a $150 deposit. (Government Code Sections 68097.1 and 68097.2.)

Note that in cases involving chemical testing under Section 23158(c), DMV must provide you “full information” concerning the chemical test, including the identity and qualifications of any forensic analyst, breath test operator or phlebotomist. It typically does not provide this kind of information, and you are advised to serve a subpoena to make sure you have it for your hearing.


GC 11450.50, GC 68097.1, GC 68097.2, VC 14104.5, VC 23158

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