When any person applies to be a licensed driver in the State of California, they go through a vetting process to qualify for the issuance of a driver license. This “examination” process is designed to verify the identity of the applicant as well as to determine the person possesses the knowledge, the skill, and the physical and mental fitness to drive.
Once a driver license is issued, however, the affected driver remains under the watchful eye of the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). For the remainder of their driving life, the driver must maintain the knowledge and the skill to drive. Many drivers are unaware that the DMV also is concerned that all drivers maintain the physical fitness to drive. In other words, the DMV wants to ensure that all drivers remain healthy enough to operate a motor vehicle. If the DMV ever learns that a person no longer possesses the knowledge or skill to drive; or if the department suspects that a person has developed any physical or medical condition that negatively impacts their ability, the department will demand that person return to the DMV to be re-evaluated.
Known as a “Re-Examination,” this process permits the DMV to scrutinize the driver to determine whether or not they are still able to safely operate a motor vehicle on public roadways. The Re-Examination process can include any number of the following steps:
The California State Legislature has specifically empowered the DMV to conduct investigations nearly “at will” to ensure the physical fitness of any person to drive. If a person refuses to participate in a Re-Examination ordered by the department, the driver license shall be suspended until that person completes the process.
California Vehicle Code Section 13800 determines….. “The department may conduct an investigation to determine whether the privilege of any person to operate a motor vehicle should be suspended or revoked or whether terms or conditions of probation should be imposed upon receiving information or upon a showing of its records.”
California Vehicle Code Section 13801 determines….. “In addition to the investigation, the department may require the re-examination of the licensee, and shall give 10 days’ written notice of the time and place thereof. If the licensee refuses or fails to submit to the re-examination, the department may peremptorily suspend the driving privilege of the person until such time as the licensee shall have submitted to re-examination.”
Because the DMV’s Re-Examination is an investigation taken before a license is suspended, the driver is not entitled to be represented at a Re-Examination Interview. Because the Vehicle Code specifically does, however, authorize a driver to have witnesses present, it may be in a person’s best interest to have a DMV Defense Expert appear as a “witness.” Although the expert cannot “represent” the driver, their mere presence is often a mechanism to cause hearing officers to behave themselves and be less aggressive.
Driving a motor vehicle in California requires that a person possess the knowledge, skill and physical fitness to drive. Driving requires the driver to be able to see, perceive and respond to a variety of information and changes in the driving environment. The DMV will be deeply concerned about any driver who develops a physical health disorder as these conditions, or the treatment of the condition can diminish the ability of the effected driver to perceive and properly respond to the ever changing environment when driving. Some of the most common health issues that cause the DMV to suspend a driver license are:
At the end of a DMV Re-Examination, the assigned Hearing Officer will either end the action and leave the driver license intact; or the Hearing Officer will find there is good cause to suspend the driver license. If the Re-Examination ends with a license suspension, the affected driver is then entitled to an Administrative Hearing to defend themselves and to reverse the suspension. A hearing is different than an interview in that it is run like a mini trial, and at a hearing you are entitled to be represented by a DMV Defense Expert, known as an Administrative Advocate.
If you would like representation by a DMV Defense Expert, DMV Administrative Advocates can assist you in preparing your defense and provides a greater likelihood of victory. You can learn more and study a complete overview of the physical and mental hearing procedure here.