Case History: California Drivers Advocates was engaged to assist a client whose driver license had been summarily suspended after the DMV received a medical report from a physician that a cardiovascular disorder made it unsafe for him to drive.
Our 43 year old client had enjoyed reasonably good health for most of his life until about 4 years ago when an episode of fluctuating blood pressure sent him to the hospital. After several different tests were conducted, he was diagnosed with cardiac arrhythmia. An area of his heart was sending out abnormal electrical signals that was causing the heart to beat irregularly. He underwent a cardiac ablation and had a defibrillator installed in his chest. With that, he stabilized and was returned to work.
Approximately one-year later, his heart began to beat irregularly and the defibrillator shocked his heart back into sinus rhythm. This caused him to return to the doctor where he met with a new cardiologist. This new cardiologist decided that he was a risk for tachycardia and sudden death and so reported the cardiovascular disorder to the DMV. Upon receipt of a Confidential Morbidity Report from a doctor, the DMV immediately moved to suspend our Client’s driver license; which is when he called us.
As an employee of a major metropolitan city, our Client not only commutes to and from work daily, but also drives extensively to do his job. His employer was abundantly patient with his absence and held his position open for him, but made clear the loss of his license would mean the loss of his job.
DMV’s Position: The California DMV’s position was crystal clear. Because a licensed physician reported that our client was at risk for a cardiac event while driving, the DMV placed the public safety before our client’s need to drive; even if it cost him his job.
Because the DMV blindly trusts the judgement of a physician, they presumed our Client was a hazard to the motoring public and jerked him off the road without hesitation.
Our Defense: Once we were retained, we immediately contacted the Driver Safety Office in the City of Covina to schedule a Physical/Mental Hearing for our client. Our request was granted, a hearing officer was assigned and a date was scheduled.
We then conducted an extensive interview with our client to learn virtually everything about who he is. His personal history, medical history, driving history and criminal history were all topics for discussion. Defending a driver at the DMV requires us to know that driver, so we can present him in the best light.
Once our interview was completed, we formulated a plan of attack. We began instructing and guiding our client in the collection of pertinent medical evidence to be presented to the DMV.
Right in the middle of our preparation, our client suffered another cardiac event that sent him back to the hospital. He underwent another cardiac ablation and had his defibrillator replaced with a new pacemaker/defibrillator combination. Because of this latest event and the resulting surgery, his doctors required that our client demonstrate a period of stability before they would clear him for driving.
This required that we cancel the scheduled hearing before the DMV, while preserving our client’s right to re-open the matter in the future.
90 days later, our client had demonstrated a significant period of stability and his doctors were ready to clear him. We collected medical evidence from his Primary Care Physician, his Cardiologist, a Neurologist and an Optometrist. We worked extensively to prepare our client for testimony and took other steps to prepare him to re-open his case.
When we had collected our affirmative evidence, we contacted the DMV and used a particular section of the Vehicle Code to request the DMV re-open the matter. Our request was granted and a new interview date was set.
When we entered the Driver Safety Office, our client had been off the road for nearly a year and his employer was growing impatient. His job was now in jeopardy. The hearing officer introduced the Department’s case and then accepted all of our medical and documentary evidence without objection. Because we had worked so hard to prepare our client, he testified with great credibility and a firm knowledge of his medical condition. He actually sold himself to the hearing officer.
Outcome: At the conclusion of the Physical/Mental Interview, the hearing officer took the matter under submission. Three weeks later, we received official notice that the hearing officer had ended the action and our client’s driving privilege was fully reinstated without any form of medical probation or restriction. As a result our client has returned to work and is driving safely.
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The DMV Defense Experts at California Drivers Advocates have been fighting and winning all forms of physical and mental hearings for many years. In fact, we excel at every type of administrative hearing handled by the DMV and have a history of winning. Call us and let us get you back on the road.