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California STAR Invalidation Attorney

Auto mechanic shops looking to grow their business can branch into other services beyond automotive repair.  To protect California’s clean air, the state requires drivers to periodically certify their vehicles as compliant with emissions regulations.  California drivers must take their vehicles to licensed smog check stations.  Many auto mechanics have chosen to expand their services by offering these smog check services.  Repair shops can serve as smog check stations, provided that they have the appropriate license.  California’s STAR Program certifies independent businesses as smog check stations that can provide smog testing and repair for special types of cars, as well as conduct regular smog checks for the typical vehicle.

Unfortunately, STAR licensed smog check stations can run into problems if they are accused of failing to comply with any of California’s myriad rules and requirements for compliance testing.  Smog testing and repair can be a huge boon to auto mechanic shops, and losing that business may be a huge blow to a repair shop’s livelihood.  Many shops secure over half their business from smog checks and repair.  The STAR Program is a bureaucratic monster with many traps for the uninformed auto shop owner; California’s Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR), the agency that regulates the STAR program, sends out upwards of 1,000 STAR certificate invalidations a year.

The STAR invalidation lawyers at Rounds & Sutter can help you if your STAR certification has been invalidated or is facing invalidation.  Let us protect your certification from improper and premature revocation and ensure that your business continues to flourish.

Reasons for STAR Invalidation

There are a variety of grounds for invalidating a STAR certification.  Your invalidation notice should identify the specific grounds for your invalidation, which will guide how you should proceed in your appeal, as discussed below.  The BAR will evaluate STAR certified businesses regularly based on a series of set short-term and long-term criteria, and auto shops need to continue complying with California’s regulations to stay certified.

Reasons a STAR certification may be invalidated include the following:

  • Station’s owner, manager, licensed smog check technician, or any other employee is convicted of a crime relating to automotive repair or smog check duties, and the station continues to employ that person
  • Station’s smog check technician is unlicensed
  • Station’s smog check technician is licensed, but their performance is inadequate as determined by their FPR score
  • Station lacks the appropriate gear, or the gear is in disrepair
  • Station lacks a technician present at the machine
  • Technician omits part of the smog check test or performs the test adequately
  • Station has a poor Similar Vehicle Failure Rate

These are just some of the grounds for losing STAR certification.  While there are proper grounds for invalidation, the BAR is known to overstate actions, conduct, or omissions by businesses in order to justify invalidations.  Just because you have received an invalidation does not mean that you should give up hope.  Contact a STAR invalidation attorney to discuss your options for remediation, appeal, and recovering your certification.

What Do I Do if My STAR Certification is Invalidated?

If you receive a letter from the BAR stating that your STAR certification is invalidated, you still have options.  You can and absolutely should appeal the decision.  The BAR letter will give you a deadline for appealing the invalidation, so act quickly.  Contact a dedicated California STAR invalidation attorney to help you prepare your strongest case for appeal.

The first appeal is an informal appeal which goes through the Bureau of Automotive Repair.  If the BAR chooses to uphold your invalidation, you can pursue a further appeal.  You may receive separate invalidations on separate counts and receive separate letters indicating BAR has chosen to uphold your invalidation on separate grounds.  You must appeal each and every one of these decisions.

Following the BAR appeal, there is a second process, a formal administrative appeal.  The formal appeal will be referred to the Department of Justice Licensing Section for a hearing at the Office of Administrative Hearings.  This step will be a more formal hearing, typically held in one of California’s larger cities such as Sacramento, Los Angeles, San Diego, or Oakland.  A smog check defense lawyer can help you through the hearing process and fight for your certification to be reinstated.

Call Rounds & Sutter for Help if Your STAR Certification is in Trouble in Ventura and Southern California

For dedicated, passionate, and effective help with your California STAR appeal, BAR hearing, smog check license or other BAR license issues, reach out to the Ventura STAR certification defense lawyers Rounds & Sutter at 805-650-7100.