A Bureau of Automotive Repair Citation Isn’t Final…You Can Appeal!

The Bureau of Auto Repair has a job to do, and that’s to ensure SMOG and auto repair shops are following the rules for vehicle emissions standards under the Health and Safety Code . The BAR issues thousands of citations a year. In their zeal, a BAR investigator might cite a small SMOG testing and repair shop who are innocent of wrongdoing.A person being explained their rights for SMOG testing and repair shop may need a defense attorney to help explain your side in court

You have the right to appeal a smog check citation, but there are better ways to do it than alone. Although a BAR Chief will review your appeal, if they are in charge, the power is in their court to affirm or modify the citation. They also have the opportunity to dismiss a Bureau of Automotive Repair citation appeal. But the question is, will they? And are you willing to risk your smog career on it? The answer to both is probably not.

The outcome of an appeal is only sometimes based on all the evidence. As a legal firm whose sole obligation is to defend SMOG technicians and mom-and-pop auto repair shops, we know what evidence BAR attorneys could ignore (https://automotivedefense.com/contact/).

Mistakes happen, but the error might not be from the accused but on the side of the accuser. Sometimes, bad decisions can be made by professionals who are responsible for mitigating harm. And if a SMOG technician is innocent of any accusations, it’s essential that while appealing a citation, they avoid making mistakes along the way.

What is the timeline for appealing a SMOG citation?

Seeking legal representation can save time and keep a busy technician working in the shop instead of sorting through paperwork and timelines. There is a specific process and timeline for a Bureau of Automotive Repair citation appeal (https://www.bar.ca.gov/pdf/bag/202107/citation-service-and-appeal-process.pdf). Managing the calendar and paperwork without legal help is the easiest way to make an honest mistake. For instance, here are the steps to contesting a citation from the BAR:

The SMOG testing shop owner can choose between an in-person conference at the BAR headquarters or a scheduled conference call.

  • Requesting a formal hearing before an Administrative Law Judge is also an option.
  • The accused must submit their written arguments with supportive evidence to contest the citation.
  • The Bureau of Auto Repair representative will prepare a report on why the citation was issued and the evidence involved.
  • If the citation is found to be fair, a fine will be assigned, and the SMOG shops’ staff may be required to undergo more training.

As you can see, nearly every step of this process makes it easy for a SMOG technician or shop owner to understand and make a mistake. Several small flubs can result in a heavy fine and black mark on a SMOG shop’s record. It’s best to avoid this all-too-common scenario and speak to an attorney who understands the details for addressing a Bureau of Automotive Repair citation appeal (https://automotivedefense.com/about/services/bureau-of-automotive-repair-citation-defense-cases/).

How can an attorney make a difference when appealing a SMOG citation from the BAR?

Although BAR citations share similarities, each case has its own unique circumstances. A lawyer who specializes in fighting Bureau of Auto Repair accusations knows the nuances of BAR regulations and can develop a targeted response to the charge(s).

The goal is to preserve a local SMOG testing and auto repair business. A SMOG license and STAR certification are crucial to any business. Each accepted accusation can erode the integrity of shops’ certification. Enough losses with the Bureau of Auto Repair can result in the loss of a STAR certification.

It’s important to remember that customers can also be the reason for an accusation. The Bureau of Automotive Repair listed customer complaint trends for July through December 2023. The top complaints were Engine Repair and Performance at 33% and General Repair and Maintenance at 18%. Under Vehicle Warranty, Smog complaints for that period were 503, around 5%. Sometimes this can be a disgruntled customer who thinks they understand more about the smog testing process than they do. And certainly BAR investigators weed them out so time is not wasted on grudges. But all customer complaints follow a process (https://www.bar.ca.gov/complaint) and some end up with an accusation letter to a smog testing and auto repair shop. The number of smog testing shops that lose their license yearly can vary, but it happens.

Whether the complaint comes from a disgruntled customer or a Bureau of Auto Repair investigator, an SMOG shop has the legal right to make a Bureau of Automotive Repair citation appeal with a lawyer by their side.


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