Empowering California Drivers

To Maintain Their Driving Privilege

Order of Suspension/Revocation for Addiction to or Habitual Use of Drugs

 What is an Order of Suspension/Revocation from the DMV for being addicted to or habitually using alcohol or drugs?

If you have received an Order of Suspension/Revocation from the California Department of Motor Vehicles(DMV), because they believe you are addicted to or habitually using alcohol or drugs, the department has just notified you they are taking you off the road because you unsafe to drive.  Let’s be perfectly clear—the Order of Suspension/Revocation is not a “shot across the bow.”  It is not a warning that the MAY take an action against you.  The Order of Suspension/Revocation means the process has already begun and your license will be suspended or revoked on the date specified on the order.

Why does the DMV send an Order of Suspension/Revocation for an addiction to or the habitual use of alcohol or drugs? 

There is no question the California Department of Motor Vehicles, (DMV) is an enormously powerful government agency with little or no oversight.  The department has the absolute power to withdraw a person’s privilege to drive without any regard for the inconvenience, stress, or turmoil that will cause.

Throughout a driver’s life, the DMV will monitor that person to ensure they maintain the following strengths:

  • The knowledge to drive
  • The Skill to drive
  • The Physical and Mental capacity to drive

If the DMV receives information from any source that suggests a person is addicted to alcohol or drugs or that the person consumes alcohol or drugs on a habitual basis the department will presume that person has no control over the impulse to use these substances and that it is likely the driver will operate a motor vehicle under the influence.

Generally speaking, the DMV will issue this type of Suspension/Revocation to a person who has three or more convictions for driving under the influence of alcohol, however, the DMV can and will use any information, from any source to suspend a person’s privilege to drive if they believe the accused driver poses a risk to public safety because of alcohol abuse.

Also, the DMV will take an enforcement action against any driver who abuses drugs, whether they are legal or illicit.  So, a person who is addicted to or habitually using a prescription medication can lose their privilege to drive just as easily as a person who is addicted to heroin.

How can I Fight the Suspension/Revocation of my Driver License for the addiction to or the habitual use of alcohol or drugs?

 Now that you have received an Order of Suspension/Revocation in the mail, there are a number of steps you can take to protect yourself:

  • Study the order carefully to determine why this action is being taken.
  • Make the decision that you are going to take on the DMV by yourself, or are you going to hire an Administrative Advocate to guide you and represent you through the process.
  • Contact the appropriate Driver Safety Office to schedule the correct type of hearing for your matter and to request a Stay of Suspension, if appropriate.
  • Make a formal “Request for Discovery” to the Driver Safety Office forcing them to provide you copies of all evidence they are using to justify the suspension.
  • Make a plan to collect relevant medical evidence or identify potential witnesses who may be valuable in rebutting the DMV’s case.
  • Plan your defense and prepare a notice to the DMV to introduce any evidence you into to use at your hearing.
  • Conduct your hearing.

California law makes it expressly clear that all drivers have the right to advocate for themselves at a DMV administrative hearing, so you need not hire anyone to represent you.This can be quite frustrating but many drivers choose to represent themselves.

California law does however, does permit an accused driver to be represented by an Administrative Advocate.  Administrative Advocates are true DMV Defense Experts with years of experience and specialized training in dealing with the DMV.  Although you have the freedom to defend yourself, representation by an Administrative Advocate can greatly increase your likelihood of prevailing at an administrative hearing.  If you would like more information on representation by an Administrative Advocate, can assist you in fighting to protect your driving privilege.

Talk to a DMV Defense Expert