Case History: California Drivers Advocates was retained to represent a client whose driver license had been summarily suspended by the California Department of Motor Vehicles following a family member’s report that he suffered with Dementia.
Our 77 year old client was retired after a 46 year career in which he opened and ran his own business in the Spring Valley area of San Diego County. After selling his business, he was looking forward to spending time with his cherished grandchildren and just traveling. To say the least, the loss of his driving privilege would cost him his freedom during his golden years.
After a 40 year marriage, the relationship with his wife was beginning to change and it evidently upset her to the point she felt compelled to strike out. During a telephone conversation with her husband’s doctor, the wife reported that he was suffering with symptoms of Cognitive Decline. The doctor felt it was necessary to report the issue to the California DMV and the department immediately issued an order that suspended his driver license.
DMV’s Position: The California DMV’s position was crystal clear. Because a physician had reported a physical/mental condition that could quite clearly impact one’s fitness to drive, the Department felt it was necessary to remove our Client from the road until he could prove his was safe to drive.
This is a perfect example of a hateful family member seeking to injure another out of spite and a government agency becoming complicit in the plan. It’s a classic case of the DMV shooting first and asking questions later.
Our Defense: When our client retained us, we immediately went to work to schedule his Physical/Mental Hearing for Dementia by contacting the Driver Safety Office in San Diego. We also requested a copy of the DMV’s evidence which revealed the source of the referral to the DMV.
Our defense began with a detailed interview of the client to carefully examine his medical history and to measure his ability to progress through the hearing process. It became immediately apparent that he was alert, responsive and in complete control of his facilities. It was evident that any issues of cognitive decline were mild.
Using a tried and true method of preparation, we directed our client to meet with a series of doctors to establish that he was medically capable of driving. Our client went through extensive testing by a Neuropsychologist with special training in evaluating dementia. He also underwent DNA testing to demonstrate he did not have any of the genes common with Alzheimer’s disease. Because it is DMV policy to compel a driver to perform a written and a driving test on any case involving concerns for Dementia, we directed our Client to study the driver handbook and to complete an on-line “Driver Improvement Course.” Most importantly, we took the time necessary to prepare him for testimony.
At the Dementia Hearing, the hearing officer accepted all of our affirmative evidence without objection and took the testimony of our client. Because we had worked so hard to prepare our client, he testified with great emotion and credibility that made our position clear. He was completely forthcoming about his past addiction to alcohol and explained all of the steps he had taken (and was still taking) to remain sober. He clearly testified as to the mild memory issues that his wife had intentionally blown out of proportion. The examination of our client was specifically designed to demonstrate our Client’s ability to process information and the ability to recall pertinent facts.
In the end, our client excelled and passed the written test with a score of 100%. One week later our client passed his driving test with ease. Because we had correctly anticipated the hearing officer’s concerns, our documentary evidence and our Client’s testimonial evidence completely rebutted the original doctor’s allegation of advanced Dementia.
We were able to win our Client’s hearing and his driver license was fully reinstated.
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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 DMV is an enormously powerful government agency with the nearly unbridled power to suspend or revoke a person’s driving privilege at will. Fortunately, the law does permit an accused driver to appear at an Administrative Hearing to reverse the suspension action……….. That is where we shine!