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 an Emergency Room Physician who reported that he suffered a lapse of consciousness related to an episode of diabetic hypoglycemia. Having received the report from the doctor, the DMV moved to immediate suspension of the driver license without further information.
Our 68 year old client was originally diagnosed with Type II Diabetes 35 years ago. For a period of 25 years his disorder was well controlled and was maintained with the use of prescription medications. Then 10 years ago, his body changed to the point that he was forced to begin frequent testing of his blood/sugar levels and was switched to insulin therapy. Over the last 10 years, he remained compliant with his doctor’s treatment plan. As all diabetics do, he suffered occasional bouts of low blood sugar, but nothing that caused a lapse of consciousness.
In January 2017, our client had resolved to take better care of himself by beginning a workout regimen. He joined his local YMCA and mapped out a plan to begin lifting weights and to walk on a treadmill. Even though our client has been living with Diabetes for nearly 4 decades, he was completely unaware that excess physical exertion can trigger a dramatic drop in blood/ sugar.
On the day of his event, he ran a few errands and then drove to the YMCA for his first session of physical training. Over the course of an hour, he performed a cardio and weight training workout that he thought was a good starting point. Unfortunately, he didn’t anticipate how his body would react to the first physical exertion in years and his blood/sugar levels crashed. So unexpected and so severe was the hypoglycemic event that he didn’t recall leaving the gym or beginning the drive home.
Halfway between the gym and his home, our Client crashed into a series of parked cars. Fortunately, no one was hurt and paramedics responded to render aid. When the responding paramedics tested his blood/sugar levels at the scene he registered a 34—dangerously low. The paramedics administered an emergency dose of Glucose and transported him to an area hospital where he received additional treatment. Within two hours, he was fully recovered and was released on his own.
All California licensed physicians have a mandatory requirement to report any lapses of consciousness or control to the DMV and so the Emergency Room doctor had no choice but to prepare and file a Confidential Morbidity Report.
DMV’s Position: The California DMV’s position is always crystal clear in cases like this. Because the information provided by the physician was that our Client was had suffered a lapse of consciousness while driving, the department immediately presumed he posed an immediate hazard to the motoring public and issued an order removing him from the road. The fact that our Client’s driving record was spotless for years did nothing to calm the DMV’s fear. In issuing the Order of Suspension/Revocation, it was the department’s plan was to keep his license in a status of suspension forever, or until such time as he could prove his fitness to drive. The DMV would require medical evidence and testimony establishing that he was stable.
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 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 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. It was critical to establish that our Client was well educated in his disorder, that he complies with his doctor’s orders and that this isolated incident has educated him to a point that he can prevent a reoccurrence. We wanted the DMV to realize that this was an isolated incident that was not brought on by negligence on the part of our client, or that his diabetes is uncontrolled.
After weeks 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. Fortunately, none of that was required; however, he was prepared nonetheless.
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.
Our client had walked into the hearing with a suspended driving privilege. Three days later, we received the Hearing Officer’s decision in the mail. Our client’s driving privilege was fully re-instated without restriction or medical probation. He is back on the road, is working-out responsibly and monitoring his blood/sugar level much more effectively.
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.
Even if you have a diagnosis with diabetes that has caused a lapse of consciousness, you may still be entitled to drive. There are thousands of Californians with challenging medical conditions who drive every day because they can prove that they’re medically stable. Just because a person has diabetes doesn’t mean they have to hang up their keys.
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.