Case History: California Drivers Advocates was engaged by a client to argue for the reinstatement of his driving privilege after the DMV had revoked his driver license for his involvement in a fatal traffic accident.
Our 61 year old Client is a business owner and community activist who was involved in a fatal traffic accident in 2015. While driving home from a dinner meeting, our client struck a bicyclist who was riding alongside the roadway. Horribly the innocent bicyclist died at the scene. The accident resulted in our client’s arrest and prosecution. Additionally, under the provisions of the Vehicle Code, the DMV moved quickly to completely revoke his driving privilege.
Our client was overcome with remorse for the life he had taken so he did not fight the criminal prosecution or the DMV revocation. He pled guilty to all of the charges brought against him and accepted the DMV’s revocation of his driving privilege. One year later, he was hopeful the DMV would reinstate his privilege to drive.
DMV’s Position: The California DMV’s position is crystal clear in these tragic cases. If any driver causes or contributes to a traffic accident resulting in fatal injuries to another person, their driving privilege may be suspended or revoked for an indeterminate period of time.
California Vehicle Code Section 13800 (a) 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 upon receiving information or upon a showing by its records that the licensee has been involved as a driver in any accident causing death or personal injury or serious damage to property.”
California Vehicle Code Section 13953 determines…..”In the event the department determines upon investigation or reexamination that the safety of the person subject to investigation or reexamination or other persons upon the highways require such action, the department shall forthwith and without hearing suspend or revoke the privilege of the person to operate a motor vehicle or impose reasonable terms and conditions of probation….”
So, the DMV’s position is that a driver need not be the primary cause of a fatal traffic accident. If they either cause or contribute to the accident, the driver license may be suspended or revoked. In other words, if the department believes the effected driver could have reasonably done anything to avoid the accident, they must be held accountable.
If the department does suspend or revoke a person’s privilege to drive for involvement in a fatal traffic accident, the “Order of Suspension/Revocation” is for an indeterminate period of time. In other words, the department wants drivers to believe they can hold the license in suspension forever. However, it has been the policy of the DMV to grant a driver’s request for a reinstatement interview after 12 months.
Our Defense: As is always the case, our defense began with a comprehensive interview of our client to learn everything about his personal history, medical history, criminal history and driving history. It is imperative that we know everything about our clients so we can present them in the most favorable light.
Early in our investigation, we learned that our client was a well-known and respected member of his community. His business had been deeply involved in several projects designed to improve the community. We also learned that our client had not shirked his responsibility to the community or the family of the deceased bicyclist. In fact, at his own expense, he had hired an attorney to ensure that his insurance company quickly and completely compensated the victim’s family for their loss.
We worked closely with our client to ensure he had paid all associated fines, completed all community service, and completely fulfilled all of his obligations to the court.
We assisted our client in collecting a number of personal reference and character letters from members of the community who would testify to his good character and how devastated he was by the family’s loss.
When we had collected all of our pertinent evidence, we made a formal request to the Driver Safety Office in San Bernardino asking that they grant our client a “Reinstatement Interview.” This is a formal hearing where the driver is permitted to present evidence and testimony to convince the DMV he is ready to return to the road.
We spent a great deal of time preparing our client to testify at his reinstatement interview. Because of our level of experience, we also knew what the individual hearing officer would be looking for in considering the reinstatement of the driving privilege. These interviews are often emotional and gut wrenching because of the very nature of talking about something so tragic. Because of his genuine commitment to doing the right thing and because we had him totally prepared, our client testified with great emotion and credibility. The hearing officer accepted all of our evidence without objection.
Once the Reinstatement Interview had concluded, the hearing officer took us out into the hallway and announced his intention to fully reinstate our client’s driving privilege.
One week later, we received official notice that the hearing officer had terminated the suspension of our Client’s driver license and had returned him to full driving privileges without restriction. We were able to reinstate our client’s driving privilege so that he can move forward.
Call CDA Today. We can keep you driving.
The DMV Defense Experts at California Drivers Advocates include former police officers, DMV Hearing Officers, Investigators and Scientists. If your privilege to drive has been suspended or revoked, you may require a reinstatement interview to regain your license. Our training, our experience and our reputation provide any driver, including commercial drivers, the best opportunity to win their Reinstatement Interview. If you require a Reinstatement Interview to regain your driving privilege, call us. We can help!