Why is it unlawful to apply for a driver license when my privilege has been suspended or revoked? – The possession of a valid California Driver License is required before a person may drive motor vehicles in the State of California. The document itself is merely a certification that the holder has successfully demonstrated true identity, true residency in the state, and that he or she possesses the knowledge and skill to drive. Just because a person may possess a driver license, however, does not necessarily indicate that their privilege to drive is valid.
The privilege to drive in California may be withdrawn, suspended or revoke for a variety of reasons: DUI, Negligent Operation, Physical or Mental conditions, Financial Responsibility, Fraudulent Activity, Fatal or Serious Injury Traffic Collision, Failing to pay fines, Failing to appear for court, Failure to pay child support, Failure to complete a DUI program and or Failure to maintain SR-22 Insurance.
If a person’s driving privilege has been suspended or revoked for any reason whatsoever, they must work within the rules of the DMV to clear up the underlying issue and then to properly apply for reinstatement of the driving privilege when they are eligible.
If a person knowingly and willingly files an application for a driver license when they know, or reasonably should know, that their privilege to drive is currently under suspension/revocation, they have committed an act of fraud.
A classic example of this is the driver who is arrested for suspicion of DUI. The arresting officer will seize the person’s driver license as part of the Administrative Per Se (APS) process. If that person attempts to circumvent the APS process by applying for a duplicate driver license, they have committed an act of fraud. The Legislative Intent of the APS law was to suspend the driving privilege of a person accused of drunk driving. It was not intended that a person accused of DUI would enter the DMV and fraudulently apply for the return of the driver license before the process has run its course. When a person applies for a duplicate license in this manner, they must sign “under the penalty of perjury” that the original driver license was lost or stolen. So, not only does this person commit fraud by applying for a driver license in this manner; they also commit perjury.
The act of applying for a driver license when the privilege to drive has been suspended or revoked is Fraudulent Activity and subjects the applicant to sanctions by the DMV. First of all, the applicant must be concerned about clearing the issue that suspended the driving privilege in the first place. Secondly, if the DMV can establish that the person did commit an act of fraud, the driver will suffer an additional suspension or revocation of the driving privilege for a minimum of one-year. In rare cases, the DMV may also refer the matter to the District Attorney’s for prosecution of fraud and/or perjury.
What are my rights at the DMV?
Before the DMV can suspend or revoke the driving privilege of a person accused of committing an act of fraud, the accused person must be given the right to defend themselves. The accused person is entitled to a full-blown evidentiary hearing known as a “Fraudulent Activity Hearing.” If prepared and conducted correctly, the Fraudulent Activity Hearing is run much like a mini-trial. Exhibits are introduced, evidence is examined, witnesses testify and legal arguments are filed. This is a complicated process that is run in strict accordance with Administrative Law and the California Code of Procedures.
Everything the DMV does is time sensitive. Once you have received notification that the DMV intends to take action against you, there is a short “window of opportunity” to react quickly, otherwise the suspension/revocation of your driver license will go into effect automatically.
Don’t attempt to handle such a matter without professional help. The DMV Defense Experts at California Drivers Advocates (CDA) has been handling every form of Administrative Hearing before the DMV for many years. Call us; we can see to it that your rights are protected.