Case History: California Drivers Advocates was engaged to defend a client whose driver license had been revoked by the California Department of Motor Vehicles because they suspected he had suffered a Lapse of Consciousness related to Sleep Apnea. The DMV took an immediate revocation action against his driving privilege after they received a referral from an Orange County Deputy Sheriff reporting that he had fallen asleep while driving and had collided with a curb. The deputy’s referral suggested that our client admitted suffering with sleep apnea and that he was disoriented, confused, and could not explain how the incident had occurred.
After receiving the DMV’s Order of Suspension/Revocation in the mail, our client scheduled and conducted a hearing by himself without professional assistance. Our client was completely unprepared for the questions the hearing officer asked and was not prepared to present adequate medical evidence to prove his fitness to drive. Consequently, the hearing officer ruled against him and sustained the revocation of his driver license.
Our client’s case was complicated by the fact that he held a Commercial Class “A” driver license that was required for work. This was important for two reasons. First of all, without his driver license, he was not permitted to work. Secondly, because his driver license was a Class “A” license, he would be held to an even higher standard of medical and physical health than a regular driver.
DMV’s Position: The California DMV’s position was crystal clear. Because the Law Enforcement referral indicated that our client had fallen asleep at the wheel, the DMV considered the event to be a “Lapse of Consciousness” and immediately revoked our client’s driving privilege. Additionally, because our client attempted to represent himself at the DMV hearing, he was ill prepared and ended up making damaging statements that revealed additional medical disorders. This provided the DMV even greater cause to take him off the road.
Our Defense: Because our client had conducted his own hearing and because a negative ruling had been made by the hearing officer, he had two choices. First he could file a “Writ of Mandate” with the Superior Court in Orange County. This is a full-blown legal appeal that very likely would have failed because the DMV did not make an unlawful decision. Secondly, he could wait 94 days for the appellate period to run and then ask the DMV to “re-open” the matter based on new medical evidence. Wisely, our client chose to engage us to assist him and decided to ask the DMV to re-open the matter.
Our defense began with a detailed interview of the client to determine his complete medical history, which turned out to be quite extensive. He had previously been diagnosed with several medical disorders which all could affect one’s ability to drive. Because we could not ask the DMV to re-open the matter for 94 days, we embarked on a structured and focused plan to collect affirmative medical evidence to address all of these issues. At our direction, our client met with his Primary Care Doctor, a Neurologist, a Psychiatrist and a Sleep Specialist and immediately began sleeping with a CPAP machine. Because there was a Class “A” driver license at stake, we also had our client evaluated by a physician approved by the Depart of Transportation.
We were successful in collecting evidence that established all of our client’s medical ailments had either corrected themselves or were stable. Each physician cleared him for driving and a sleep study proved that with the use of a CPAP machine, our client was sleeping soundly during the night.
After the 94 day appellate period had lapsed, we compiled all of the evidence and prepared a formal request that the DMV re-open our client’s matter based upon new medical evidence. Because our work had been so exhaustive and because we quoted the correct provisions of the Vehicle Code authorizing the re-opening of the matter, our request was granted and a hearing was scheduled.
At the hearing, the hearing officer accepted all of our affirmative evidence without objection and considered the testimony of our client. Because we had worked so hard to prepare our client, he testified with great emotion and credibility which made our position clear. Our preparation was so complete that when it was time for the hearing officer to cross-examine our client, there were very few questions. He was also successful in passing a written and a vision test. Finally, the hearing officer scheduled our client for a “behind the wheel” test, which he passed with flying colors.
Essentially, we had been tasked with rebutting both the evidence presented by the Law Enforcement Officer and the damaging information provided by the client at his first hearing. All of our work came together and just two weeks after the hearing, we received an “Order of Set Aside or Reinstatement” that returned our client to full driving privileges, including the operation of Class “A” vehicles. A long ordeal came to a successful end.
Call CDA Today. Let us put you back on the road. The lesson here is that most drivers are not prepared to take on the DMV at an Administrative Hearing without professional help. By attempting his hearing without representation, our client extended the revocation of his driver license for more than three months.
The DMV Defense Experts at California Drivers Advocates include former police officers, DMV Hearing Officers, Investigators and Scientists. Our training, our experience and our reputation provide any driver the best opportunity to win their Administrative Hearing the first time.
If your driver license has been suspended or revoked because you suffer with a physical or mental condition characterized by a Lapse of Consciousness, don’t despair. These hearings really can be won and we can get you there.