What are the Steps to Our Defense at An Ambulance Special Certificate Hearing? As discussed elsewhere in this site, an Ambulance Driver Special Certificate Hearing is a formal, legal, proceeding conducted before a hearing officer of the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). A properly conducted Ambulance Driver Special Certificate Hearing is somewhat similar to a “mini trial.” Exhibits are presented, evidence is considered, objections are made, and witnesses may testify. Our defense at Special Certificate Hearings is to prepare our clients to present themselves and their case in the best possible light.
Proper defense at an Ambulance Drivers Special Certificate Hearing is not something the average driver should attempt on their own. The issues are too complex and the presentation too demanding to simply have a chat with the hearing officer. If you are facing the prospect of losing your Special Certificate, and therefore the privilege to operate an emergency ambulance, your best response is to enlist the aid of a DMV Defense Expert from California Drivers Advocates (CDA).
The DMV Defense Experts from CDA have a proven history of winning Ambulance Driver Special Certificate Hearings for our clients. Our defense at a Special Certificate Hearing is essentially made up of four stages: Investigation,Preparation,Presentation & Follow-Thru.
As simple as this may seem, the reality is each stage of our defense plan has been developed from years of fighting with the DMV. Our DMV Defense Experts know what the DMV is looking for and we know how to anticipate the hearing officer’s questions even before they come. Our defense works! You can WIN an Ambulance Driver Special Certificate Hearing and thereby, keep your job.
What Happens During the Investigation Stage?
The moment we are hired to protect you, we begin the preparation of your hearing by planning for your defense. Entering the investigation stage, we immediately contact the Driver Safety Office (DSO) nearest to your home to set an Ambulance Driver Special Certificate Hearing and to request a “Stay of Suspension” so you may continue driving emergency ambulances until the outcome of the hearing. The DMV routinely denies the request to stay a suspension of the Ambulance Driver Certificate because they frequently believe the need to protect vulnerable patients outweighs the driver’s need to operate and ambulance; however, presented properly, the request to stay the suspension may be granted upon a foundational finding that you do not pose an immediate hazard to the safety of patients. The bottom line is that the attempt should be made.
Next, we interview you in great detail to learn who you are and what brought you to the attention of the DMV. Your driving history, work history, medical history, and criminal history are all points to be explored. We file the proper requests with the DMV which forces them to provide copies of any evidence they intend to use at the Ambulance Driver Special Certificate Hearing.
Again, as simple as this may sound, it is critical to conduct a thorough investigation so that nothing is missed. The worst possible thing is to be surprised during your Special Certificate Hearing by an issue you did not anticipate. A thorough investigation is a fundamental building block to at these hearings.
Increasingly, the DMV bases its Special Certificate actions on a “finding of moral turpitude.” DMV routinely does this because moral turpitude is difficult to define and gives the DMV Hearing Officer the nearly unbridled ability to “label” any unwholesome or uncomfortable past event as being an “issue of moral turpitude. The DMV’s definition of Moral Turpitude is:
“The act of baseness, vileness, or the depravity in private or social duties, which man owes to his fellow man, or to society in general, contrary to accepted and customary rule of right and duty between man and man. Act or behavior that gravely violates moral sentiment or accepted moral standards of community and is a morally culpable quality held to be present in some criminal offenses as distinguished from others.”
Where the refusal, suspension, or revocation of an Ambulance Driver Special Certificate if often supported by a court conviction, the DMV is permitted to take a disciplinary action against a driver’s Special Certificate involving issues of Moral Turpitude, even when no court conviction occurs. The DMV is permitted to refuse, suspend, or revoke a person’s Ambulance Driver Special Certificate based upon an arrest or a mere suspicion if it is believed the event demonstrates you are not to be trusted. Some acts involving moral turpitude include immoral sexual behavior, or crimes of personal gain, fraud, or theft.
DMV hearing officers are routinely taught to use the following as a working theory of Moral Turpitude: “Conduct which is contrary to justice, honesty, modesty or good morals.”
Although current law requires the DMV to establish the nexus (logical connection) between the alleged criminal conduct or bad act and the driver’s ability to engage in the use of the Special Certificate, DMV Hearing Officers are granted great power to subjectively make this connection.
What Happens During the Preparation Stage?
To be frank, the “Preparation Stage” is where most Ambulance Driver Special Certificate Hearings are won or lost. This is where you will come to realize the true depth of your DMV Expert’s experience. Our defense at an Ambulance Driver Special Certificate Hearing is based upon our ability to accurately anticipate the hearing officer’s concerns and suspicions and be ready to address them before they even arise.
The “Preparation Stage” of our defense at an Ambulance Driver Special Certificate Hearing may include:
- The issuance of subpoenas for police reports, accident reports, insurance reports, or any other documents that establish or explain your driving habits or prior criminal history.
- The complete review of your criminal history and driving record to ensure is accuracy. It is common for us to discover errors in these records that make a huge difference in the case.
- The interview of family, friends, employers, or other people who may possess valuable information regarding your criminal history, personal history, work history, medical history, driving habits, and your need to drive emergency ambulances.
- Filing of a “Petition for Expungment” with the Superior Court to dismiss previous criminal convictions. While this does not erase the previous conviction, it is another mechanism we use to demonstrate to the DMV that you have served your debt to society and have moved beyond your past.
- If the DMV seeks to deny, suspend, or revoke your Ambulance Driver Special Certificate for a physical or mental condition, we will completely investigate and document these issues through physician’s reports and a Driver Medical Evaluation (DME).
- Preparation and service of “Notices of Affirmative Evidence” to the DMV as outlined in the Government Code. This is so your evidence will be accepted by the DMV. Otherwise, it can be rejected.
- Finally, and most importantly, to prepare you for examination and cross-examination during your Ambulance Driver Special Certificate Hearing.
What Happens During the Presentation Stage?
Now that your case has been thoroughly investigated and properly prepared, it is time to actually conduct the Ambulance Driver Special Certificate Hearing. With years of experience and scores of Ambulance Driver Special Certificate Hearings conducted, your DMV Expert from CDA will know exactly where we’re going, exactly what we’re doing, and exactly who we’re dealing with. There should be no mystery to entering and conducting your hearing. There should be no surprises.
The Ambulance Driver Special Certificate Hearing is conducted in the private office of a DMV Hearing Officer. This does not occur in an open courtroom or with dozens of people standing around. Usually, the only people present in the room are the Hearing Officer, the accused driver, and the DMV Defense Expert from CDA. If necessary, witnesses or experts may be called to testify but you will know this well in advance. Again, there should be no surprises at the Hearing. If something occurs during your hearing that was not anticipated, your representative has not properly prepared.
When the hearing begins, you will be “sworn in” and promise to tell the truth during your testimony. The hearing officer will introduce the issues to be discussed and then our defense takes center stage. Because we are fully prepared, we will introduce your testimony, evidence, and witnesses. Because our defense for the Ambulance Driver Special Certificate Hearing included preparation for cross-examination, you will be prepared to answer the hearing officer’s questions honestly, completely, and intelligently. There are no surprises. At the end of the hearing, your DMV Defense Expert from CDA will offer a closing argument to wrap everything up and bring focus and clarity to your case.
What Happens During the Follow-Thru Stage?
It is rare that a DMV Hearing Officer will announce their decision at the end of the Ambulance Driver Special Certificate Hearing, and in fact, the hearing officer does not have the final word in your case. In almost all administrative hearings conducted by the DMV, the decision of the individual hearing officer is final. In the Ambulance Driver Special Certificate Hearing, however, the individual DMV hearing officer considers all of the issues and evidence and then prepares a written recommendation to the Ambulance Review Board.
In some instances, the DMV Hearing Officer will offer the opportunity for your DMV Expert to include a brief or statement of facts to be considered during the review.
The DMV’s policy is to convene a review board on ALL ambulance certificate issues, including Mandatory Actions. The Ambulance Review Board meets one time per month and is comprised of the following members:
- CHP Representative, who acts as the Board Chairman.
- DMV Representative.
- Emergency Medical Health Service Authority.
The Ambulance Review Board reviews all information presented at the Ambulance Driver Special Certificate Hearing and then considers the written recommendation of the hearing officer. Ultimately, the Review Board will make a final ruling.
The Review Board has the power to sustain, modify, or “set aside” the DMV action against the Ambulance Driver Special Certificate. If the Review Board feels that it requires more information, or that the Hearing Officer’s recommendation is not sound, it may remand the issue back to the Hearing Officer for further work.
Once the Review Board has made its decision, a “Notice of Findings and Decision” will be mailed to you and your DMV Expert. In those instances where we have won the Ambulance Driver Special Certificate, the certificate itself is included with the written notice.
Our follow-thru may include contact with the DMV hearing officer to check the status of a decision. It may include follow-up with the Mandatory Actions Unit in Sacramento to ensure that your driving record is properly updated. It is normal for ambulance drivers to have many questions at the end of their hearing and we’ll be there to help.
Call Us Now to Save Your Special Certificate.
If you have received a notice from the DMV that they are denying, suspending, or revoking your Ambulance Driver Special Certificate, you should not be confused by what is happening. The DMV is not warning you that they MAY take your Special Certificate. The DMV is telling you that they ARE TAKING YOUR SPECIAL CERTIFICATE, and they are inviting you to demonstrate why that action should not be taken.
If you have applied for or currently hold an Ambulance Driver Special Certificate, it is probable that your future employment will depend upon reversing the DMV’s action.
The best defense at an Ambulance Driver Special Certificate Hearing is a timely, properly planned professionally executed game plan. Call CDA now……… We are ready to help you win your hearing and save your future.