Empowering California Drivers

To Maintain Their Driving Privilege

Notice of Re-Examination Appointment

The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is the State Agency empowered by the California State Legislature to issue driver licenses to those people who qualify to operate motor vehicles in the state.  Once the DMV issues a driver license, the agency then is also empowered to continually monitor and review all drivers to ensure they maintain the skill, the knowledge, and the physical/mental fitness to drive.

If the DMV receives information from any source that a person may no longer qualify to operate motor vehicles, the department is empowered to conduct an investigation to determine if there is cause to remove that person from the road.  The process by which the DMV conducts its investigation is known as the “Re-Examination” process.

If the DMV determines it is necessary to conduct a Re-Examination of a driver, the department will mail a notice to that person which mandates they participate in investigation to determine their fitness to drive.  In almost all instances, the driver will receive a Notice of Re-Examination Appointment in the mail.   The notice should provide the following information:

  • The reason the Re-Examination is being conducted.
  • The Vehicle Code Section authorizing the department to conduct the Re-Examination
  • The date, time and location of the Re-Examination.
  • Any additional information such as the requirement that the driver file medical reports.

Any driver who receives a Notice of Re-Examination Appointment must appear at the date and time indicated and must complete the Re-Examination process.  Any driver who receives a “Notice of Priority Re-Examination” from a law enforcement officer must present themselves at a Driver Safety Office within 5 business days for Re-Examination.   Failure to appear will result in the suspension of their driving privilege until they do complete 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…..”

California Vehicle Code Section 13801 determines…

“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 the re-examination…..”

 Why does the DMV send a Notice of Re-Examination Appointment?

 It is the stated duty of the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to ensure the safety of the motoring public through education, monitoring of driving behavior, review and enforcement.  If the DMV receives information from any source that a person may no longer possess the skill, knowledge or physical/mental fitness to drive, the law mandates that the DMV conduct an investigation to determine if the effected driver’s license should be suspended or revoked.

If the department determines that an investigation is required to determine the fitness of any driver, it will mandate that the licensee participate in a Re-Examination to determine if a suspension or revocation is warranted.  If the DMV decides that a Re-Examination of a driver is necessary to protect public safety, the department is required to provide notice in writing to that driver.

California Vehicle Code Section 13952 determines….

“The notice shall contain a statement setting forth the proposed action and the grounds therefor, and notify the person of his rights or the department, at the time it gives notice of its intention to act may set the date of Re-Examination, giving 10 days’ notice thereof.”

 Why has the DMV focused on me for Re-Examination?

 As stated above, the Department of Motor Vehicles is forever vigilant in monitoring the driving fitness of all California Drivers.  The DMV monitors drivers’ history and behavior because a person who does not or cannot safely operate a motor vehicle is an inherent danger to everyone else on the road.  Traffic collisions injure and kill thousands of Americans every year and the DMV’s mission is to try to reduce those numbers by suspending or revoking the driving privilege of any person who potentially poses a threat to public safety.

The DMV will primarily initiate a Re-Examination of a driver if:

  • The department receives information that a driver has developed a physical, medical or mental condition that may affect driving.
  • The department receives a referral or report from ANY source that the driver may no longer possess the knowledge, skill or ability to drive.
  • The department suspects that a driver is addicted to or habitually uses any compound, medication or drug that affects driving.
  • The department receives a “Request for Re-Examination” or “Priority Request for Re-Examination” from a law enforcement officer or other source.
  • The department suspects a driver is a Negligent Operator of a motor vehicle.
  • The department learns that a driver has failed to demonstrate the knowledge to drive during a written test.
  • The department learns that a driver has failed to demonstrate the skill to drive during a driving test.
  • The department learns that a driver has had three or more DUIs.
  • The department suspects that a driver may have been involved in an act of Fraud regarding the application for or renewal of a driver license.

For the most part, a Re-Examination will occur when the DMV suspects some issue is affecting a person’s ability to drive; but the information is either vague or a determination is made that the issue may easily be corrected without progressing directly to suspension/revocation.  Essentially, this is a mechanism for the department to investigate a matter while allowing that person to continue driving during the investigation.

How can I prepare for a Re-Examination?

If you are preparing for a Re-Examination or Priority Re-Examination, the process is exactly the same.  The only difference is that a Priority Re-Examination must occur much quicker than what occurs in a regular Re-Examination.

The person who represents the DMV in a Re-Examination is known as a DMV Hearing Officer.   Within the world of the DMV, the Hearing Officer is similar to a Superior Court Judge.  The Hearing Officer acts as Judge, Jury and Executioner.  When reviewing a case for Re-Examination, the Hearing Officer may direct that a driver participate in any one, or all, of the following steps:

  • Written laws test. This is an 18-question, multiple choice test.  This is similar to those tests taken by a person who is applying for or renewing a driver license.  All of the information contained in the test comes directly out of the Driver Handbook.  A driver is permitted to miss three questions and still achieve a passing score.
  • Vision test. This is a simple process of reading letters off of a wall chart or from a vision hood.  A driver is permitted to wear corrective lenses during the test.
  • A driving test. If the hearing officer determines that one’s skill to drive is in question, he or she may order that the driver take a “behind the wheel” driving test.
  • An interview. Almost all Re-Examinations include an  This is an opportunity for the Hearing Officer to speak with the accused driver.  The hearing officer will be alert to how responsive the driver is to questions.  How alert and engaged the driver seems to be.  How honest the driver is willing to be.  Does the driver seem to possess the awareness, clarity and judgment to operate a motor vehicle?  A driver going into a Re-Examination can expect the interview to be comprehensive and far-reaching.  Issues of medical health, mental health, and the use of prescription medications are all potential topics.  The event that brought the driver into the DMV’s focus will certainly be explored.  A person’s driving history and criminal history are all on the table.  In many instances, Hearing Officers may seem aggressive, rude and abrasive.  Many Hearing Officers believe that being nasty and aggressive is a way to measure a driver’s response to stress.
  • A Medical Report. In some instances, a DMV Hearing Officer may require that a driver present a medical report from their primary care physician or other specialty doctor.  The Driver Medical Evaluation is a 5-page report.  The driver fills out the information on page one and then signs necessary releases for the DMV to receive medical information.  The person’s doctor then prepares and signs the remaining pages.  The report is then delivered to the DMV for consideration by the Hearing Officer.

If an accused driver is prepared to address each of these steps, they should perform well in a Re-Examination.

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