Empowering California Drivers

To Maintain Their Driving Privilege

FAQ

Check out our the most frequently asked questions

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Check out our the most frequently asked questions

If a driver has suffered the revocation of their privilege to drive, the only person who may lift the revocation is a DMV Hearing Officer.  Once a sufficient period of revocation has been served, the affected driver may petition the DMV to grant a “Re-Instatement Interview” to consider whether or not the revocation will be lifted.

If the Department of Motor Vehicles has suspended or revoked your privilege to drive, you have a right to fight to reverse the decision.  On the other hand, if you choose to not fight the DMV, you do not create any further problems for yourself.   You can go to any DMV Field Office, surrender your driver license and apply for a California ID card.  There is nothing illegal about not having a driver license,  but you must not drive.

At the conclusion of any Administrative Hearing conducted to reverse the suspension or revocation of a driver license, the hearing officer is mandated to prepare a decision in writing.  If a driver receives an “Order of Set Aside or Reinstatement” and the block is checked indicating a Set Aside, this means the hearing officer has concluded the original suspension of the driver license was not justified and the action is completely removed from the person’s driving record.  This is a complete victory.

At the conclusion of any Administrative Hearing conducted to reverse the suspension or revocation of a driver license, the hearing officer is mandated to prepare a decision in writing.  If a driver receives an “Order of Set Aside or Reinstatement” and the block is checked indicating an End Action, this means the hearing officer has concluded the original suspension of the driver license was justified but there is now evidence that the person is safe to resume driving.  While an “End Action” means you won your hearing and that you may again begin driving, the suspension will appear on your driving record and may cause insurance companies to increase insurance rates.

If the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has announced its intention to suspend a person’s driver license, the Vehicle Code mandates that the affected driver be provided an opportunity to present evidence and testimony to rebut the information held by the DMV.  In some instances, a driver may qualify to Stay (meaning to stop) the suspension until a hearing can be convened and a decision rendered.  In this way, a driver would be permitted to continue driving while the hearing process proceeds.

A driver license revocation means the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has permanently withdrawn a person’s privilege to drive and is usually as a result of an infraction that is more serious than that associated with a suspension.  Normally, a revocation of the driving privilege is for an “indeterminate” period of time; which means forever, or until the DMV is ready to re-open the matter for reconsideration.  Although not written into the Vehicle Code, the DMV’s policy has normally been told hold a driver license in revocation for at least one-year before reconsidering the matter.

If a driver license revocation is terminated, the accused driver must completely rebuild their privilege to drive. This normally requires them to apply for a new driver license through written testing, vision testing and behind-the-wheel testing.

Generally speaking, a driver license suspension means the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has temporarily removed a person’s privilege to drive.  A suspension sets a specific period of time and may set a specific series of steps to followed before the driver may have their privilege reinstate.

Yes…….  California law does provide that an accused driver may be represented by any person of their choosing at a DMV Administrative Hearing.  While some attorneys have experience with DUI hearings at the DMV, very few have any training or experience dealing with the other various hearings conducted by the DMV.

California drivers fighting the suspension or revocation of their driving privilege may be represented by a DMV Defense Expert specifically trained in the nuances of DMV hearings.  Known as Administrative Advocates, these highly experienced defense experts are versed in all facets of California DMV Law and DMV procedure.  Because they fight in the trenches with the DMV each day, they provide a driver the very best opportunity to reverse a driver license suspension/revocation.

When the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) suspends or revokes a person’s privilege to drive, the action is normally based upon some documentary evidence.  When a driver requests a hearing to reverse the suspension/revocation, the DMV must provide copies of any and all documents it intends to use to sustain the suspension.  These items of evidence establishing the DMV’s case are referred to as “Discovery” and must be provided to the driver at least 10 days before any hearing.

Generally speaking, the Driver Safety Office will conduct “contacts” with drivers in one of two formats.  The Re-Examination is essentially an investigation conducted by the Driver Safety Office prior before a license is suspended or revoked.  Because the re-examination is conducted before a suspension or revocation, the driver is generally not permitted to be represented by a DMV Defense Expert.

On the other hand, a Hearing is a proceeding which occurs after the DMV has taken a suspension or revocation action against a driver.  The hearing must be requested by the affected driver in a proper format and within a specified period of time.  The hearing is run much like a “mini-trial” where evidence is introduced, witnesses may testify and experts may render opinions.  The hearing is an opportunity for the driver to reverse the suspension/revocation.  At a hearing the driver is permitted to be represented by a DMV Defense Expert.

The Division of Driver Safety is very similar to a court working within in the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).  The person empowered to fill the role of the “Trier of Fact” is known as a DMV Hearing Officer.  Within the world of the DMV, a Hearing Officer holds the same power as a Superior Court Judge.

Because DMV Hearing Officers are employed by the same agency that is taking a suspension action against a driver, they are not impartial.  Also, DMV Hearing Officers are supposed to be empowered with great autonomy but, the reality is they are subject to tremendous oversight and control by department managers.  Because of the way the law is set up in California, the Hearing Officer fills the role of judge, jury and executioner.

Within the halls of the California Department of Motor Vehicles is an enforcement division known as the Division of Driver Safety. This division is primarily tasked with reviewing and assessing a person’s fitness to drive. The Division of Driver Safety conducts re-examinations, testing, interviews and hearings to determine if a person should be permitted to operate motor vehicles on California’s public roadways.

The work conducted by the Division of Driver Safety is conducted at large regional offices, known as Driver Safety Offices (DSO).

Depending upon the needs of the community, a Driver Safety Office may be a stand-alone facility manned by support staff and hearing officers.  In some instances the Driver Safety Office may be nothing more than a single office located within a DMV Field Office.

One of the primary functions of the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is to ensure that all drivers maintain the physical capability to drive.  Driving is a complex task that requires a driver’s ability to process sensory information and to react appropriately to navigate down the street.  If the DMV receives information that a person may suffer with any medical disorder that can affect the ability to drive, the department will want to investigate the issue to determine that person’s fitness to drive.  Some of the more common Medical Disorders that can affect driving are:

·       Vision problems                                       *   Epilepsy/Seizures

·       Heart problems                                        *   Parkinson’s

·       Diabetes                                                   *   Chemical/Substance Addiction

·       Sleep Apnea                                             *   Dementia or other cognitive decline

While it is never the intent of the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to discriminate against any person with a mental health disorder, it is absolutely the department’s intention to protect the public safety.  Unfortunately, in some instances, a person suffering with a mental health issue may not be capable of safely driving.

Mental Health Disorders can affect a person’s ability to drive in a variety of ways.  Anxiety can cause a driver to have anger issues and possibly be involved in road-rage incidents.  Depression may cause a driver to slip into despair and consider suicide through the use of an automobile.  Mental Health Disorders may cause the driver to abuse drugs, alcohol or prescription medication.  While suffering a Mental Health Disorder is not a crime, it certainly can cause a problem for safe driving.

For decades State Law Makers have sought ways to combat the injury, death and property destruction that is so often associated with drunk driving.  As a result most State’s in the US, including California, have broad laws designed to punish those drivers who make the choice to drive while impaired.

The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is mandated by the California Vehicle Code to take a suspension or revocation action against any driver who makes the choice to illegal drink and drive.  The employees of the California DMV have no discretion as to whether or not an offender should be punished.  While it is true that all drivers do have a right to defend themselves against such a suspension/revocation, it was clearly the intent of the Legislature to punish drunk drivers by removing their privilege to drive.

 

The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is empowered with many responsibilities involving motor vehicle safety.  One of those is to ensure that all drivers maintain the physical/mental ability to drive.  If the DMV receives information that any licensed driver has suffered a Lapse of Consciousness or Control, the department has the right to suspend or revoke that person’s privilege to drive in the interest of public safety.  Clearly, a person who suffers with any medical condition that may cause them to pass out, seize, or lose body control while driving cannot be permitted to operate a motor vehicle.  If the department receives any information that a person has suffered a Lapse of Consciousness or Control (even when not driving), it will move swiftly to remove that person from the road until it can be determined that person is safe to drive.

 

Before a new driver is licensed by the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), they must demonstrate that they have both the knowledge and the skill to drive.  Normally, this is established by taking a written test and a behind the wheel “driving” test.  Once a person has received their driver license, they must forever maintain the skill and knowledge to drive.

As years pass, a driver may lose the skill or knowledge to drive.  This can be caused by a variety of issues, such as aging, medical disorders, mental disorders, or just simple complacency.  If the DMV suspects that a person no longer possesses the skill or the knowledge to drive safely, the department can take an action to remove that person from the road.

 

One of the most devastating events a driver may experience is involvement a traffic accident which causes the serious injury or death of another person.  It has become the policy of the California State Legislature that nearly all serious injury or fatal traffic accidents are avoidable and therefore, any driver who either causes or contributes to such an event should have their driver license suspended or revoked as a means to educate them through punishment.

If a driver has been involved in a serious injury or fatality traffic accident, it is common for the DMV to label them as a “Negligent Operator” and to them act to suspend or revoke the license.  If this were to happen to you, you can fight to protect your driving privilege by conducting an administrative hearing.

 

In almost all instances where the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) accuses a driver of Fraudulent Activity, it follows an event where the accused person has been caught cheating while testing for a California Driver License.

Before the DMV will issue a driver license, the applicant must pass a written, vision and driving test.  For a variety of reasons, an applicant may decide to circumvent the testing process by cheating on a written test or having another person take the driving test for them.   If the DMV learns a person has been involved in any act of fraud while applying for or renewing a California driver license, the department will act quickly to remove that person from the road.  The department does not want unqualified drivers to be driving motor vehicles on the public roadways.

 

The simple truth is that when motor vehicles are driven, accidents will happen.  Regardless of who is at fault in an accident, people are injured and property is damaged.

In an effort to ensure that California’s drivers are made whole, the California State Legislature has enacted a series of compulsory laws that demand all owners or operators of motor vehicles possess the financial ability to make reparations following an accident.

To put it simply, driving in California is a conditional privilege.  One of those conditions is that the owner or operator of a motor vehicle must possess valid auto insurance.  This means………….. No Insurance?    No License…..  Period!

CONTACT INFO

California Drivers Advocates
7900 Limonite Ave., Suite G-308
Jurupa Valley, CA 92509

Phone: 877-961-4-DMV

Phone: 877-961-4368