Case History: California Drivers Advocates was retained to represent a client whose driver license had been automatically suspended by the California Department of Motor Vehicles after the department received information from a police agency that he had been arrested for Driving Under the Influence of Cocaine and Benzodiazepines.
Our 39 year old client suffered a back injury 4 years ago at work. To treat the pain associated with the injury, his physician prescribed the use of Norco. After a period of time, he became addicted to the use of Norco and when his physician ended the prescription, he went to the streets and began illicitly purchasing Hydrocodone. Over a period of three years, his addiction became so great that he was literally spending himself into the poorhouse to finance the illegal purchase of the Hydrocodone.
Finally, our Client decided enough was enough and decided to get his addiction under control. He voluntarily approached his physician and revealed the nightmare he had been living. His doctor referred him to an addiction doctor and the process of weening him off the drugs began. To assist him in dealing with withdrawal symptoms, he was prescribed Suboxone.
Shortly after beginning the withdrawal medication, he was at work on an extremely stressful day. He was suffering severe symptoms of Benzo withdrawal with a co-worker offered him Cocaine to help abate the symptoms. Unfortunately, he used too much and relapsed with the use of the Benzos as well. Consequently he was stopped and arrested for DUI.
DMV’s Position: The California DMV’s position is always crystal clear in cases like this. Even though the department was not able to suspend our Client’s driver license for DUI because he had no measurable amount of alcohol in his bloodstream; they believed his use of Cocaine and Benzodiazepines, make him unsafe to drive.
The DMV’s tactic is to remove the person from the road and then challenge them to show the department why they are fit to drive.
Our Defense: When our client retained us, we immediately went to work to schedule his “Habitual Use” hearing with the Driver Safety Office in the City of Orange.
As is always the case with our clients, our defense plan began with an extensive interview so we could learn virtually everything about the person we were representing. A successful hearing requires us to present our client as a person with human frailties who is committed to changing their behavior and thus to protecting the public. Once we fully understood our client, we embarked on a structured plan to collect affirmative medical evidence.
Our client was evaluated by several medical professionals to address a wide range of issues from general medicine, to pain management, psychiatry and addiction control. Our Client began working closely with his doctors to free himself from the grip of addiction. He lost weight and began working out to deal with the back pain and finally made the changes necessary to develop a healthy lifestyle.
Years of experience in representing drivers at suspension hearings has taught us to be prepared for anything. Because of this, our client was prepared for a written test, a vision test and a driving test if required. As it turned out, the hearing officer did put our Client through the entire gamut of testing. He scored perfectly on the written test and passed the vision test with flying colors.
Undoubtedly, one of the most valuable services we provide is to prepare our Clients for testimony. Although our clients testify as our witnesses, they still are subject to cross-examination by the Hearing Officer. Our experience has taught us the mannerisms of many of the DMV Hearing Officers with whom we deal; therefore we can anticipate their concerns and properly plan the presentation of our Client’s case. Our direct examination of the Client was so comprehensive and he testified with such genuine credibility that the Hearing Officer asked very few questions in cross-examination. There just wasn’t anything left to explore.
When the hearing ended, the Hearing Officer took the step to schedule our Client for a “behind the wheel” driving test. We were also able to get the Hearing Officer to issue a Special Instruction Permit so our Client could do some practice driving before his test. Our Client ultimately aced the driving test and we sent a request to Terminate the Action against his driving privilege. One week later we received the “Order of Set Aside or Reinstatement” in the mail. Today our Client is back to driving safely and remains clean and sober.
If the DMV is in the process of taking you off the road because of the Habitual Use of a Controlled Substance or Medication, call us today. We can help!
The DMV Defense Experts at California Drivers Advocates include Administrative Advocates, 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.
Addiction to drugs or medications is an evasive problem that affects even the best people. Getting yourself clear of the addiction is your job; getting you back on the road is ours.