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 (DMV) after she failed to appear for a scheduled administrative hearing, regarding a medical disorder.
In May 2017, the DMV received a Confidential Morbidity Report from a Neurologist alleging that our client was suffering with “Non-Epileptic” Seizures. Based on that information, the DMV summarily suspended her driving privilege in the interest of public safety. Not having any idea what she was facing, our Client telephoned the DMV and scheduled her own hearing. She incorrectly recorded the time of the hearing in her calendar and therefore did not appear at the scheduled time. When she appeared late, the assigned DMV hearing officer had already issued an order which sustained the earlier suspension and she was denied the privilege to return to the road.
Our 40 year old client originally began experiencing Non-Epileptic Seizures in 2002. When she suffered an episode, her body would become rigid and she would shake; but she never lost consciousness and the seizures never affected her speech, hearing or vision. Over several years, repeated doctor’s visits and numerous neurological tests failed to discover the source of the seizures. Finally in 2016, a neurologist diagnosed her with “Conversion Disorder with Non-Epileptic Seizures.” Evidently, she suffered with PTSD and Major Depressive Disorder following the murder of a family member many years earlier. It was the Neurologist’s belief that the depression and anxiety from the PTSD would periodically trigger the seizure activity. As a result, she was referred to a psychiatrist and therapist for treatment. The psychiatric treatment was successful and our Client’s seizures went into remission.
The California DMV’s position is always crystal clear in cases like this. Because the information provided by the original neurologist was not favorable, the department immediately presumed our Client posed an immediate hazard to the motoring public and issued an order removing her from the road. The problem was further compounded when she failed to appear for her scheduled hearing and so the DMV had no interest in returning her to driving.
When our client retained us, we immediately went to work to re-open her Medical Disorder hearing with the Driver Safety Office in San Diego.
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 and her medical challenges, 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 Neurology. We prepared to introduce positive medical evidence of her fitness to drive in the areas of Primary Care, Neurology and Psychiatry. It was critical to establish that she was well educated in her disorder, that she was complying with her doctor’s orders and that there was every reason to believe her seizures were a thing of the past.
After two months of preparation, we were ready to present our case. 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 additional hoops but, we were prepared nonetheless.
One of the most valuable services we provide our clients is preparing them for testimony. Although our clients testify as our witnesses, they still are subject to cross-examination by the DMV Hearing Officer. Our experience has taught us the mannerisms of the many different DMV Hearing Officers with whom we deal. Because of that experience we can anticipate their concerns and properly plan the presentation of our Client’s case. On this case, our direct examination of the Client was so comprehensive and she testified with such genuine credibility that the Hearing Officer asked very few questions in cross-examination. There just wasn’t anything left to explore.
Ten days after our hearing, we received the “Order of Set Aside” in the mail. No strings attached. Our client was returned to full driving privileges with no restrictions.
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.
The DMV will suspend or revoke a person’s driving privilege for virtually any medical disorder that the Department suspects can affect driving. What may seem to be a simple medical nuisance to a driver, may be a “big deal” to the DMV. Also, because the DMV is not staffed by medical professionals, the department tends to act on emotion rather than solid information.
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.