Case History: California Drivers Advocates was engaged to defend a client whose driving privilege was being suspended by the California Department of Motor Vehicles. The DMV initiated a suspension action against our client’s driving privilege after they received information that he had been involved in a reportable traffic collision when he did not hold proper auto insurance.
Our 27 year old client was transitioning between jobs and struggling to maintain his finances. At one point, things got so bad he could not pay the monthly premium due to his auto insurance company and his policy was summarily canceled.
In August 2017, our client was driving to his new job when he was involved in a minor, rear end, traffic collision in the City of San Bernardino. He had been sitting in a line of cars waiting for a traffic signal to cycle to green. As the line of cars began to move, he glanced down at his dash clock to check the time. In that brief instant, the car in front of him abruptly stopped and he was unable to stop before striking the car. Our Client’s car had struck the rear tow hitch of a 2014 Toyota Highlander. His car had sustained a minor impression to the front license plate and the other car had sustained no visible damage, whatsoever.
Following the law, our Client immediately pulled to the side of the road to check for injuries and to properly identify himself. Law Enforcement Officers arrived, information was exchanged and a report was prepared. The Traffic Collision Report would estimate our Client’s speed a 1 mph at the time of impact and that the other vehicle had not sustained any damage. Interestingly enough, the driver of the other car insisted that because she had been rear ended, and because she had two child restraint seats in her vehicle, that both of the seats must be replaced.
Our client admitted to the investigating officers that he was not insured. Later, the driver of the other vehicle prepared a “Report of Collision in California” (SR-1), which was filed with the DMV and revealed that our Client was not insured. The other driver alleged that damages to her vehicle exceeded $1,000. Based on that information, the DMV initiated the process of suspending our Client’s privilege to drive.
DMV’s Position: The California DMV’s position was crystal clear. Because our Client had been operating a motor vehicle without proof of Financial Responsibility; and because the other driver claimed damages that exceed $1,000, California’s Compulsory Insurance Laws mandated that his driving privilege be suspended for one year. The DMV presumed the allegation by the other driver was true and initiated the suspension action.
Our Defense: When our client retained us, we immediately went to work to request his “Financial Responsibility” by contacting the Financial Responsibility Unit at the DMV’s Headquarters in Sacramento. We also made an immediate request to Stay the intended suspension of our Client’s driver license until the outcome of the hearing. Because we acted in a timely manner, our request was approved and the file was transferred to the local Driver Safety Office in San Bernardino. A hearing date was set and the Stay of Suspension was granted which permitted our Client to continue driving while his case developed.
Our defense began with a detailed interview of the client to determine the details of what had occurred. Our Client had been contacted by an Insurance Adjuster from the insurance company representing the other driver. In a brief telephone conversation, our Client was told that the damages to repair the other vehicle exceeded $1,000 and that there was a claim of injury.
At the hearing, we appeared side by side with our Client. The DMV had been forced to subpoena the other driver for testimony. This was necessary as the claim of damages and injury were inadmissible hearsay absent testimony or evidence to establish the claims as fact.
When the other failed to appear for the hearing, the Department was left with no way to establish the facts of the case. The Hearing Officer attempted to illicit damaging testimony from our Client, but we blocked that immediately. With no way to establish their case, the Hearing Officer relented and our Client’s driving privilege was saved.
Just three days later, we received an Order of Set Aside that terminated the suspension action our Client’s driving privilege. This was similar to a not guilty verdict. Today, our Client is properly insured and enjoying his driving freedom.
Call CDA Today. Let us put you back on the road.
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.
If your driver license is in jeopardy of suspension for lack of Financial Responsibility, don’t despair; these hearings can be won. Don’t let the DMV steal your driving freedom without a fight.