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 a Confidential Morbidity Report from a Physician who reported two instances of Lapse of Consciousness that had occurred in the physician’s waiting room. The DMV identified the information as unfavorable and moved to immediately suspend the driver license.
Our 58 year old client was originally diagnosed with end stage kidney failure in December 2016. One year later, he underwent a kidney transplant. He had also been previously diagnosed with Type II Diabetes that had been stable for nearly 30 years. As some diabetic patients may know, the anti-rejection medications taken following organ transplant can wreak havoc with a person’s blood sugar levels.
Twice in January 2018, our client was sitting in his doctor’s waiting room, waiting for his regular blood tests to check kidney function. The doctors wanted him to fast prior to the blood test, which again is quite dangerous for a diabetic. In those two instances, our Client’s blood/sugar levels plummeted and he suffered lapses of consciousness which were reported to the DMV.
DMV’s Position: The California DMV’s position is always crystal clear in cases like this. Even though the lapses of consciousness occurred while in a medical facility, the concern was that his diabetes was not controlled and that a hypoglycemic event could occur while driving. The department’s position is that it is better to suspend the driving privilege of one person rather than endanger the lives of many.
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 “Lapse of Consciousness” hearing with the Driver Safety Office in El Segundo. Because of calendar issues, we were redirected to the small satellite Driver Safety Office in Los Angeles.
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 public safety. 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 Endocrinology and Nephrology. Our Client began working closely with his Endocrinologist to be fitted with a Continuous Glucose Monitor and to better control his fluctuating blood/sugar. It was critical to establish that our Client was well educated in his disorders, that he was complying with his doctor’s orders and that these isolated incidents had been identified, evaluated and addressed. We wanted the DMV to realize that the Lapses of Consciousness were really just issues of scheduling and proper planning for fasting blood tests.
Years of experience in representing drivers 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 not require our Client to jump through those hoops but he was nonetheless prepared.
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 extraordinary step of commending our Client for the work he had done to adjust to his medical challenges. The Hearing Officer told us on the spot that we have won and that she would be returning our Client to driving. Three days later, we received the “Order of Set Aside or Reinstatement.” Today, our client has returned to work and working hard to keep his medical issues under control.
If the DMV is in the process of taking you off the road because of a Lapse of Consciousness or Control, 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.
A Lapse of Consciousness can occur for a variety of reasons. Diabetes, Epilepsy, Dehydration or Illness. In this case, it was a combination of Diabetes and the effects of treatment for a kidney transplant. If you have suffered a Lapse of Consciousness or Control, the DMV will automatically assume the worst and will seek to keep you off the road. Don’t let this defeat you. These hearings can be won and you can be returned to driving. Let us get you there. Don’t let the DMV steal your driver license without a fight.