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California DMV Hearing for Lapse of Consciousness


Why does the DMV suspend a driver license for a Lapse of Consciousness?

The California Legislature has empowered the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) with the exclusive power to issue the California Driver License to those persons who qualify. What many Californians don’t know is that the DMV also possesses the nearly unbridled power to strip a person of their driving privilege if they believe there is cause to do so.

It is common for the DMV to take the immediate action of suspending a person’s driver license if it is learned they have suffered a Lapse of Consciousness. Lapse of Consciousness is a very broad term and is applied liberally by the DMV. Health & Safety Code section 103900 determines that a Lapse of Consciousness may be applied to any of the following events or conditions;

  • Alzheimer’s Disease or any form of Dementia
  • Epilepsy or any other seizure disorder
  • Syncope or fainting
  • Alcohol or drug induced “black outs”
  • Brain tumors
  • Narcolepsy
  • Sleep Apnea
  • Abnormal metabolic states including hypoglycemia or hyperglycemia
  • Any condition causing a “marked reduction of alertness or responsiveness.”

Special Note:  The law permits the DMV to suspend a person’s driver license even if the Lapse of Consciousness did not occur while driving. It is common for doctors to report a Lapse of Consciousness to the DMV for events that did not happen while driving. Any person who holds a California Driver License is subject to the suspension or revocation of their driver license for ANY Lapse of Consciousness that occurs at ANY time. For example, we represented a client who was enjoying a day at the beach with friends and family when he suffered a seizure. He was transported to the hospital by ambulance and a doctor prepared a Confidential Morbidity Report of the event. When the DMV received the report, it immediately suspended our client’s driver license without any warning. Ultimately, we were successful in returning him to full driving privilege, but the lesson here is the DMV suspended his privilege even though he was not involved in a driving event.

California Vehicle Code section 13953 authorizes the DMV to “forthwith and without hearing” suspend or revoke a person’s driver license if they have suffered any physical or mental event that is characterized by a Lapse of Consciousness. This is action is warranted to protect the safety of the driver and the general public.

If the DMV receives notification from any source that you have suffered any physical or mental event that can be construed as a Lapse of Consciousness, it will move very quickly to immediately suspend your driver license. In fact, most drivers don’t even know their driver license has been suspended until the unexpectedly receive an “Order of Suspension/Revocation” in the mail.

Can my driver license be reinstated after a Lapse of Consciousness?


The answer is emphatically YES. There are literally thousands of Californians driving today who have a myriad of physical or mental conditions ranging from epilepsy to diabetes. The one common denominator among all these drivers is that the DMV believes their condition is stable; and there becomes the secret to regaining your driving privilege.

Make no mistake, if the DMV has suspended or revoked your driver license for a Lapse of Consciousness, they will be firmly entrenched in the belief that you are not safe to drive. Reversing that suspicion and regaining one’s driving privilege can be frustrating and unsuccessful for the driver who attempts to deal with the DMV on their own.

To ensure your best opportunity for reinstatement, you should call the DMV Defense Experts at California Drivers Advocates (CDA). We are a team of Administrative Law Specialists whose exclusive focus is keeping California drivers on the road. We have represented hundreds of drivers in every Driver Safety Office in the State of California. We have dealt with clients suffering with a wide variety of physical or mental conditions that the DMV believes should disqualify them from driving. We disagree. Provided your condition is stable and you are adhering to a doctor’s medical treatment regimen, you should be permitted to drive and we can get you there.

Convincing the DMV to reinstate a person’s driver license is no easy task. Over many years, we have developed a system that works. Complete investigation, preparation and presentation are the keys to putting you back on the road.

If your license has been suspended for a Lapse of Consciousness, don’t despair. You don’t have to face the DMV alone. The DMV Defense Experts at CDA are standing by to put our training and experience to work for you. Call CDA today.

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