Case History- California Drivers Advocates was retained to represent a client whose driving privilege had been summarily revoked because the Department had determined she had caused or contributed to a fatal traffic accident.
Our 44 year old Client is married and lives with her husband and 9 year old son in a suburb of Los Angeles. She is employed as a Beauty Consultant for a major Makeup Company. She is by all accounts a kind, loving and law abiding person.
In October 2014, our Client had just finished a full day at work and was driving home. She was completely sober, rested, and in a good frame of mind. As she was driving, she glanced down at her cell phone to check on an arriving text message. In the instance that she glanced back up from her phone, she was looking directly into the setting sun. Unfortunately, she did not see a bicyclist who was riding alongside the roadway. She collided with that person and horribly a man lost his life.Our Client immediately stopped to render aid. When the police arrived, she was completely compliant with their investigation and was honest about her use of the cell phone.
Ultimately, our Client was prosecuted by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. She accepted responsibility for her actions and pled guilty to Vehicular Manslaughter with Gross Negligence. When the DMV learned of the conviction, it immediately revoked her driving privilege for an indeterminate period of time and our Client did not fight the action.
DMV’s Position- The California DMV’s position is crystal clear in issues of this nature. If any driver is involved in a traffic accident causing a serious injury or fatality, and if the Department determines the driver caused or contributed to the accident, it will act punitively to remove that person’s privilege to drive.
When the DMV takes an action to revoke a driving privilege for a fatal accident, it is for an “indeterminate” period of time, which means forever or until the person demonstrates their fitness to drive. Although not mandated by the Vehicle Code, the DMV’s unwritten protocol is to not consider the reinstatement of a driving privilege for at least one year.
Our Defense- Following the revocation of her driver license, our Client made no attempt to reinstate her privilege for more than three years. Emotionally, she just was not ready to return to driving. When she engaged our services, we immediately went to work to collect new evidence to establish her fitness to drive. Being off the road for more than three years would mean the DMV would want to know that she accepted responsibility for her actions, that she was remorseful and that she possessed the Skill, the Knowledge and the Fitness to drive.
Using a tried and true method of preparation, we directed our client to meet with a series of doctors to establish that she was medically capable of driving. Because it is DMV policy to compel a driver to perform a written and a driving test on such cases, we directed our Client to study the driver handbook and to complete an on-line “Driver Improvement Course.” We also had our Client demonstrate her attempts to make amends with the victim’s family and the payouts that were provided by her insurance company. Most importantly, we took the time necessary to prepare her for testimony. Using all of this information, we contacted the DMV and used a particular provision of the California Vehicle Code to ask that the Department convene an interview so we could request the reinstatement of our Client’s driving privilege. The request was granted.
At the Reinstatement Interview, 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, she testified with great emotion and credibility that made our position clear. She was completely forthcoming about her involvement in the accident and the fact that her poor choices had cost a man his life.
In the end, the hearing officer was so impressed that she waved the written, vision and driving test and cleared our client to apply for the reissuance of her license. Because we had correctly anticipated the hearing officer’s concerns, our presentation was complete and we were able to win our Client’s interview. Today, she is driving in a much safer and concerned manner.
Call CDA Today. We can get you back in the driver’s seat.
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. There is nothing that can be done to restore the life of a person killed in an auto accident; however, after a proper period of revocation, an accused driver should be given the opportunity to return to driving.